Employment Gains Continue in December

by Brian Thomas and Jeremy Levine | Jan 31, 2017

Employment in Santa Barbara County continues to grow at a steady rate. The latest employment data from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) shows continued improvement in nonfarm payrolls, with nonfarm payrolls growing by 0.4% in December. The unemployment rate remained below 5%, hovering around its lowest level since 2008, and continues its trend downward. Santa Barbara has the 16th lowest unemployment rate and the 19th highest nonfarm payroll gains across California's 58 counties.
Full Story

Strong September Employment Report Shows Continued Growth

by Brian Thomas and Noah Newman | Nov 2, 2016

Santa Barbara County experienced solid employment growth in September, with civilian employment increasing by 0.4% for an annualized growth rate of 4.9%. Strong employment growth held the county unemployment rate at 5.0%, matching the national unemployment rate. Growth in government and education & health services drove the majority of the gains. Overall eight of the twelve 2-digit industry groups had employment gains in September, with the information industry experiencing the highest increase at 2.9%.
Full Story

Revisions Move Labor Market Slowdown to October

by Brian Thomas and Noah Newman | Dec 8, 2015

The latest employment report from the California Employment Development Department shows slow Santa Barbara County labor market growth in October. Total civilian employment increased by a mere 0.03%, the slowest growth in six months, while nonfarm payrolls and total employment for all industries declined by about 0.1% in the last month.  Large revisions to the September employment data suggest strong employment growth during that month.  Nonfarm payroll job gains in September were increased from 42 seasonally adjusted job gains to 836 job gains.
Full Story

Housing Affordability

by Christine Braun and Tori Tsolis | Nov 18, 2015


Santa Barbara home values continue their steady rise since early 2012, when the median home value hit a low of 55% of the pre-recession peak value. The newest release of Zillow’s data puts prices back to 79% of their pre-recession values with 0.7% growth since August. Although prices continue to rise, growth has dramatically slowed, increasing 5% since September 2014 compared to a year-over-year growth rate of 10% in September 2014 and 20% in September 2013. With prices beginning to steady, but mortgage rates rising as expectations grow over the Feds decision to raise rates, where does this leave Santa Barbara’s housing affordability? 
Full Story

Zillow vs DataQuick

by Christine Braun | Oct 27, 2015


The Age of Information has spurred an explosion of data and sources from which to collect these data, leaving researchers to debate over which sources and methods are preferable to others. Data from the housing market are no exception to such debate, with several sources to choose from: Zillow, Case-Shiller, DataQuick (DQ) and California Association of Realtors (CAR). So why do we prefer Zillow for our data on housing prices?
Full Story

September Employment Slowdown

by Brian Thomas | Oct 20, 2015

The strong summer job growth in Santa Barbara County has come to a pause in September. The September data, released on October 16th, shows that civilian employment declined by 0.2% and nonfarm payrolls are flat with 0.0% growth. Santa Barbara is not the only area with this September slowdown in employment growth.  Full Story

Seasonality in Santa Barbara

by Brian Thomas and Noah Newman | Oct 6, 2015

Local employment data has different seasonal trends than national data. Rather than strong employment gains during the holiday season, employment in Santa Barbara County typically declines during these months because of a larger than typical farm sector in the county.  Read more about what drives local seasonal trends.
Full story


Housing markets heat up in August

by Brian Thomas and Tori Tsolis | Sep 24, 2015

Zillow's August home value data suggests that Santa Barbara home values are just about as hot as the county’s recent heat wave. In August, Santa Barbara County home values grew 0.7%, with Buellton and Solvang experiencing growth rates greater than 1%.
Full story

Santa Barbara County's labor market continues to improve in August. The local unemployment rate remains below 5% and the county is on pace to have employment gains of over 3% in 2015. The county’s employment growth has been led by a strong summer surge in the leisure and hospitality industry. Leisure and hospitality employment has now grown over 10% in the past year, leading all industries.
Full story

Banking Industry Snapshot

by Christine Braun | Sep 08, 2015

The Great Recession wreaked havoc in financial markets and engendered a rash of new regulations, Dodd-Frank being the main piece of legislation. In this post we describe the structure of the banking industry over the past twenty years in Santa Barbara county. In 2014, banking industry consisted of 19 institutions with a total of $10 billion in deposits, an increase of 4.55% over the year.
Full story

July Employment Numbers Reveal Strong Summer Trend

by Brian Thomas | Aug 23, 2015

July employment data shows continued summer improvement through most of Santa Barbara. Seasonally adjusting the seasonally unadjusted data from the California Employment Development Department helps illustrate these strong trends. The leisure & hospitality sector has been booming since April and is the county's strongest growing industry over the past year.
Full story