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.
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.
(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%
& Utilities 21,500 17.52%
Leisure & Hospitality 18,600 15.16%
Education & Health Services 15,200 12.39%
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
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 Knowledge and Innovation Services 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 Knowledge and Innovation cluster
The Specialized Manufacturing 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 Specialized Manufacturing cluster
The Health Services 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 Health Services cluster
The Building Design and Construction 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 Design and Construction cluster
The Uniquely SLO County Clusters are:
Wine and Agriculture includes: aquaculture, floriculture production, vegetable farming, cattle ranching, fruit and nut farming, olives and olive oil, walnut oil, animal processing and beverage manufacturing.
Recreation and Accommodation includes: higher-value food and drink establishments, traveler accommodations, and amusement and recreation industries. High-value food and drink establishments reflect revenues per employee above the statewide average.
Click here for more information on Uniquely SLO County clusters
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.
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
Arroyo Grande 18,108
Grover Beach 13,600
Morro Bay 10,639
Pismo Beach 8,162
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%
Asian 3.7% 14.1%
Native Hawiaian or 0.2% 0.5%
other Pacific Islander
Hispanic or Latino 21.7% 38.4%
Two or more races 3.3% 3.7%
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 in SLO is provided by Southern California Gas Company.
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.
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).
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: