Our Trending Business Community

Dec 23, 2015

Our Trending Business Community
Kenneth Harwood
Economist
Solvang Chamber of Commerce
Your business community is all those who work in local businesses, large and small. About 200,000 people are on payrolls in Santa Barbara County. The year 2000 had 179,000 on payrolls, and the 2014 had 198,000, for a gain of 10.2 percent in fourteen years.
Those 19,000 additional jobs helped to increase the resident population of Santa Barbara County by 10.3 percent in the fourteen years, suggesting that each person added to payrolls helped to support slightly more than two additional residents. The county’s population rose from 399,334 in 2000 to 440,668 in 2014, for a gain of about 41,000 residents.
Different groups of industries grew or shrank at different rates. Such trends are hard to see in one year or two. Across fourteen years some differences are clearer. Here is a table of number of people employed in five large groups of industries making up more than half of all jobs in the county.
Industry 2000 2014 Growth All industries 179,700 198,000 10.2%
Government 32,800 38.300 16.8%
Leisure and hospitality 20,800 25,500 22.6%
Education and health services 18,800 25,400 35.1%
Professional and business services 20,000 22,900 14.5%
Retail trade 21,000 19,400 - 7.6%
Look at the column labelled 2014 to see the five large groups of industries ranked from largest to smallest. Then look at the column labelled 2000 to see how the rankings changed. Government remained our largest employer. Most government employees are in public education. University of California, Santa Barbara, is the largest employer in the county.
Leisure and hospitality jumped up to second place among these five groups of industries. In 2000 it was next to last. Education and health services leaped from last place to third place. Professional and business services held steady in next to last place, while retail trade slipped from second place to last place.
The column headed Growth showed a remarkable rise of about 35% in education in health services, reflecting the march of baby boomers into older years. Next came leisure and hospitality as automobile travel increased and gasoline prices began to drop. Government grew with greater numbers of students in higher education, and with rising population in the county. Professional and business services grew with larger population and larger payrolls.
Retail trade showed negative growth in number of employees because of two major changes in the fourteen years. Large square footage stores such as Home Depot and Costco had higher economic productivity than a number of smaller shops offering similar goods and services. Also much retail trade went to Amazon and other large online nonstore retailers. Retail trade seemed to increase its economic productivity on average more than any other of these five large groups of industries.
Please see the Website of State of California, Employment Development Department, for details of employment; and U. S. Census Bureau online for details of population.

Posted in Dr. Ken Hardwood.