California's economy produced its strongest growth in five years during the first quarter of 2012, according to an index of leading employment indicators published by Chapman University.
The index released Thursday by the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research jumped to 109.2 this quarter from 106.4 in the fourth quarter of last year.
Three of the four components of the indicator turned up early in 2012.
Annualized gross domestic product rose slightly this quarter, as did the S&P 500 stock index.
Construction spending, whose reporting lags behind the other indicators, rose at a rate of 7.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a rate of 1.4% the previous quarter, Chapman said.
Export growth, while remaining positive, fell to a 5.2% increase this quarter from a 5.9% increase in the fourth quarter of 2011.