Santa Barbara, CA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth Amidst Holiday Hiring Rush

, ,

Santa Barbara’s job market maintained its positive trajectory in December 2023, adding jobs for the sixth consecutive month despite the usual seasonal slowdown. The unemployment rate remained low, indicating continued employer confidence and a resilient local economy.


  • Non-farm payroll employment increased by 430 jobs, bringing the total to 203,530. This represents a 0.2% growth compared to November 2023.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%, matching the national average.
  • Professional and business services led the job gains, adding 210 positions, followed by leisure and hospitality (+130 jobs) and education and health services (+90 jobs).
  • Construction and manufacturing shed jobs, losing 20 and 10 positions, respectively.

Industries and Occupations:


  • Professional and business services: Management analysts, computer and information systems managers, and registered nurses were among the occupations adding jobs in this sector.
  • Leisure and hospitality: Cooks, waiters and waitresses, and food preparation and serving workers saw increased employment due to the holiday season.
  • Education and health services: Special education teachers, home health aides, and physician assistants contributed to the job gains in this sector.


  • Construction: Carpenters and electricians experienced job losses, likely due to the completion of seasonal construction projects.
  • Manufacturing: Production workers in various manufacturing sub-sectors saw reduced employment, potentially reflecting broader economic trends.


  • Year-over-year: Compared to December 2022, Santa Barbara’s non-farm payroll employment increased by 2,230 jobs, representing a 1.1% growth. The unemployment rate remained slightly lower than the 4.0% recorded in December 2022.
  • Month-over-month: Compared to November 2023, the job market added 430 positions, continuing the upward trend from previous months.

Future Outlook:

The Santa Barbara job market is expected to remain stable in the coming months, supported by ongoing tourism activity and potential growth in professional and business services. However, potential economic slowdowns and seasonal fluctuations in certain industries could impact future job trends.

10 Growing Occupations (December 2023 compared to December 2022):

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Software Developers and Applications Programmers
  3. Management Analysts
  4. General and Operations Managers
  5. Physician Assistants
  6. Construction Laborers
  7. Cooks
  8. Waiters and Waitresses
  9. Home Health Aides
  10. Customer Service Representatives

10 Companies Hiring Now (as of January 30, 2024):

  1. Cottage Health
  2. Raytheon Technologies
  3. UC Santa Barbara
  4. Santa Barbara Unified School District
  5. Vons
  6. Marriott Vacation Club International
  7. Montecito Family YMCA
  8. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
  9. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
  10. Visit Santa Barbara