Report: SLO County has jobs but lacks quality work
April 6, 2015
A new report on the state of the local economy indicates that San Luis Obispo County has a higher level of employment than state and national averages, but local jobs tend to offer relatively low pay and little advancement opportunity.
The San Luis Obispo County Workforce Investment Board commissioned Carlsbad-based BW Research Partnership to produce a report analyzing the county’s economic and workforce development in recent years. The report is titled Challenges and Opportunities for the SLO County Workforce Investment Board.
From 2010 to 2014, unemployment in San Luis Obispo County fell from 10 percent to about 5 percent, according to the report. Over that period, statewide unemployment fell from above 12 percent to below 8 percent, and nationwide unemployment fell from about 9.5 percent to about 6 percent.
When compared to state averages, though, wages are lower in the county. The report lists 22 occupational categories, and only four offer higher pay than the statewide average.
Several of the categories, like management positions; computer and mathematical jobs; and arts and media work come with pay well below the state average. The average management position in the county pays $95,989, which is $28,735 less than the state average for that occupational group.
Computer and mathematical jobs in the county pay an average of $68,008, which is $28,735 less than the state average. Arts, design, sports, entertainment and media positions in the county come with an average pay of $44,161, which is $30,291 below the state average.
Additionally, 40 percent of jobs in the county are considered low wage and low skill occupations.
The poverty rate in the county is 15 percent, which is just below the state average. But, the county has a higher percentage of residents ages 18 to 64 who live below the poverty level.
San Luis Obispo County has a cost of living that is slightly above the national average. Housing and rent expenses, however, are about 50 percent above the national average.
The report also notes that the county is a net exporter of jobs. That means more people live inside the county and work outside than live outside the county and work inside it.