Ken Harwood, Economist

May 06, 2014

Finding New Employees

From the desk of:
Kenneth Harwood
Economist
Solvang Chamber of Commerce

  As our economy edges closer to full employment, finding an additional employee becomes harder for many employers. Good luck puts us near the center of population in Santa Barbara County, so that we are able to draw employees from surrounding places. Here are three places from which added employees often come.

 Numbers of unemployed were as of February, 2014, as reported by Employment Development Department, State of California.Today's numbers are slightly different, yet the ranking of the three places is similar, for these places are the larger population centers near us.

  Santa Barbara County had 15,800 people who were looking for work and did not have an employer.

  Persons who were unemployed in Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, and Los Alamos then were 100 in each
community.

  The more specialized the skills we require, the greater the distance on average from which we draw an employee,
and the higher the cost.

  Solvang on average tends to send higher skilled workers to the three larger communities near us, while receiving from those communities employees of lower skills. Ours is a bedroom community to many, as well as a destination to visiting employees.

  Another source of higher costs as we edge closer to the peak of a business cycle is using our business plant and equipment ever nearer to full capacity, sometimes pressing into service our older and less efficient facilities.

  New businesses tend to be less expensive to start up, and existing businesses less expensive to operate, when we are near a low point in the business cycle. Then the costs of having employees, occupying land and buildings, and operating equipment tend to be lower than costs near the peak of a cycle. Then customers are harder to find, too.

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