With a warm Mediterranean climate, central location and high quality of life, San Luis Obispo consistently ranks among the most desirable places to live in the nation. An abundance of activities and opportunities, everything from green hills to sundrenched beaches and a highly educated and creative workforce makes this lively university town a great place to live and pursue your passions.


Human capital is a business’ greatest asset. With close proximity to Cal Poly and Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo attracts a young, affordable, educated and creative workforce.

More than 40 percent of our population over the age of 25 holds a college degree or higher. Compared to an already high statewide average of 27 percent and 24 percent nationwide, we’re doing pretty well.

Cutting edge programs like the Clean Energy Workforce Training Program at Cuesta College and new and expanding programs at Allan Hancock College are providing valuable training in jobs of the future.

Cal Poly is graduating approximately 4,000 people annually to help equip local companies. For the past 18 years U.S. News & World Report magazine has rated Cal Poly as the best public-master’s university in the West. And the Wall Street Journal says that the Business and Engineering schools produce among the best hires in the country out of all private and public schools.

Labor Force

(State of California EDD)           SLO County           CA
Labor Force                                   140,700                  19,348,000
Unemployment rate                     4.1%                        5.5%

Employment by Industry

State of California EDD            SLO County            Percentage of workforce
Total, All Industries                   122,700
Government                                 23,600                    19.23%
Trade, Transportation
& Utilities                                     21,500                     17.52%
Leisure & Hospitality                 18,600                    15.16%
Education & Health Services    15,200                    12.39%
Professional &
Business Services                        12,300                    10.03%
Manufacturing                             7,300                      5.59%
Mining, Logging &
Construction                                7,200                      5.87%
Other Services                             6,200                      5.05%
Total Farm                                   5,000                      4.07%
Financial & Insurance               2,300                      1.87%
Real Estate                                   2,000                     1.63%
Information                                 1,600                      1.30%

County to County Commuting patterns
U.S. Census Bureau

Residence                      Workplace                   No. of Workers
SLO County                   SLO County                96,754
SLO County                   SB County                      7,480
SB County                      SLO County                   5,045
SLO County                   Monterey County          797
SLO County                   LA County                         726

Key Industries

San Luis Obispo County and all city partners, including San Luis Obispo City, have identified five clusters of opportunity, based on industry data, as hubs of current and future activity in San Luis Obispo County. These clusters are:

The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Cluster is made up of a range of businesses including: computer systems design, software publishers, colleges, universities and professional schools, advertising services, printing services, as well as general professional, scientific, management and technical services.

Click here for more information on the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) cluster

The Biotechnology and Biomedical Devices Cluster contains: aerospace product manufacturing, basic and agricultural chemical manufacturing, electrical equipment manufacturing, medical equipment and supply manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, transportation and navigation equipment manufacturing, agricultural and construction machinery manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing, motor vehicle and parts manufacturing, metalwork manufacturing, and cement and concrete manufacturing.

Click here for more information on the Biotechnology and Biomedical Devices cluster

The Healthcare Cluster includes: home health care services, elderly community care facilities, medical and diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers, acute care hospitals, doctor’s offices, dentist’s offices, ambulatory services, and biosciences and medical products.

Click here for more information on the Healthcare cluster

The Building and Design Cluster is comprised of: architectural and engineering services, building construction, building equipment and finishing, foundation, structure, building exterior contractors, heavy and civil engineering construction, land subdivision, utility system construction, green energy implementation, and roadway and bridge construction.

Click here for more information on the Building and Design cluster

The Defense, Aerospace and Transportation Manufacturing Cluster contains: small arms and ordnance manufacturing; motor vehicle supplies and new parts merchant wholesalers; motorcycle, bicycle, and parts manufacturing; ship building and repairing; machinists; laborers and freight, stock and material movers; and light truck or delivery services drivers.

Click here for more information on the Defense, Aerospace and Transportation Manufacturing cluster

Energy consists of: nuclear electric power generation, electricians, electrical contractors and other Wiring installation contractors, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, heating and air-Conditioning contractors, power plant operators, other scientific and technical consulting services, electrical power-line installers and repairers, research and development in biotechnology, general and operations managers.

Click here for more information on the Energy cluster

Largest industries by total size (2014 employees) in the city are: (can compare to County and State)

Health Care and Social Assistance             (6,481)

Retail Trade                                                           (5,276)

Accommodation and Food Services          (4,632)


San Luis Obispo offers a sunny and mild climate all year long, great educational systems, easy access to an active lifestyle, a vibrant cultural scene, clean air, low crime rates, no traffic headaches, a bike and pedestrian friendly community and exceptional healthcare. These are a few reasons why San Luis Obispo is considered the happiest city in the nation.

Age Distribution
U.S. Census Bureau          SLO County      CA
Under 5                                  5.0%                  6.8%
5 to 9                                       4.8%                  6.7%
10 to 14                                   5.5%                   6.9%
15 to 19                                   8.2%                   7.5%
20 to 24                                 10.4%                  7.5%
25 to 34                                  17.0%                 14.3%
35 to 44                                  10.9%                13.9%
45 to 54                                  14.5%                 14.0%
55 to 59                                   7.3%                    5.9%
60 to 64                                  6.4%                    4.9%
65 to 74                                   8.0%                   6.2%
75 to 84                                   4.9%                    3.7%
84 +                                           2.5%                  1.6%
Median Age                            39.3                    35.2

California Department of Finance
San Luis Obispo County                  281,401
San Luis Obispo                                47,339
Paso Robles                                        31,580
Atascadero                                          29,819
Arroyo Grande                                   18,108
Grover Beach                                      13,600
Morro Bay                                           10,639
Pismo Beach                                       8,162

Educational Attainment
U.S. Census Bureau
SLO           County CA
High school graduate                89.7%        81.8%
Bachelor’s degree                       33%           31.4%
Graduate or prof. degree          20.2%        11.6%

U.S. Census Bureau                       SLO County         CA
White                                                    69.9%                   39.0%
Black or African American            2.2%                      6.6%
American Indian and                       1.4%                       1.7%
Alaska Native
Asian                                                      3.7%                      14.1%
Native Hawaiian or                         0.2%                        0.5%
other Pacific Islander
Hispanic or Latino                         21.7%                    38.4%
Two or more races                           3.3%                       3.7%

Household Income
U.S. Census Bureau
SLO County     CA
Median household income        $59,454            $61,489



Water and Wastewater

Despite the Governor’s recent declaration of a drought emergency, the City of San Luis Obispo’s local water supply remains reliable and secure. Actions taken by City Council, community members and staff after the severe drought of 1987-1991 have secured reliable water resources for the city. Investment in a multi-source water supply and water reclamation facilities allow for responsible use even following the driest year on record. The city has four primary water supply sources including Whale Rock Reservoir, Salinas Reservoir, Nacimiento Reservoir, and recycled water (for irrigation), with groundwater serving as a fifth supplemental source.

Water and Wastewater services are provided by the City of San Luis Obispo Utilities Department.

The City’s monthly charge per billing unit:

(1 unit = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons)

Water Base Fee*    $9.98 per month
Water Usage Tier 1 (1-8 Units)    $6.92 per Unit
Drought Surcharge Tier 1      1.10 per Unit
Water Usage Tier 2 (9+ Units)    $8.65 per Unit
Drought Surcharge Tier 2      1.37 per Unit
Sewer Treatment Base Fee    $8.57 per month
Sewer Treatment**    $9.44 per Unit


Electricity in SLO is provided by Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Natural Gas

Natural Gas in SLO is provided by Southern California Gas Company.

Waste Services


Tech Infrastructure

By encouraging public-private partnerships, maximizing efficiency and supporting the construction of a fiber-optic network, San Luis Obispo is prioritizing telecom infrastructure and the kind of business it attracts. As part of the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, the City partnered with a local provider to bring high speed fiber to government buildings and provide the opportunity for fiber connectivity to local business and residences.

Currently, 23 miles of fiber optic network are already in place, providing 75 “lit” commercial buildings with Internet services normally found only in larger metropolitan areas.

Public Transportation

The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA) provides intercommunity public transportation. RTA’s service area includes all of San Luis Obispo County and extends into Santa Barbara County to the south. RTA provides regional fixed-route service (RTA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit service (Runabout).

Real Estate

San Luis Obispo is a desirable place to live and work.

The median home price in SLO ($485,000) is higher than the state ($393,000) and the nation ($223,300) but when compared to California cities like San Francisco ($935,500), Los Angeles ($540,000) and Santa Barbara ($865,000), San Luis Obispo is significantly more affordable.

Real Estate Resources:

Commercial Leasing

Commercial Sales


Residential Sales