Agriculture is a major element of San Luis Obispo's economy. San Luis Obispo County is California's third largest wine producing region. Wine grapes are the largest crop in the county. Tourism is also a significant factor for the economy due to the area's wineries and being a popular area for outside sports such as surfing, windsurfing, diving, kayaking, sailing and hiking. California Polytechnic State University with close to 20,000 students, also has a substantial role in powering the economy.
In San Luis Obispo, approximately 36% of the jobs are in management, professional and related occupations. About 27% of the workforce in San Luis Obispo work in sales and office jobs. Approximately 21% of the jobs are provided by the government.
Notable information about San Luis Obispo: Regarding San Luis Obispo, the New York Times stated "West Coast good life." In 2008, the cost of living index was 132.7 which is high when compared to the national average of 100. About 41% of the population over the age of 25 has a bachelor's degree or higher. In 2009, the average salary in San Luis Obispo was about $35,000.
The major sectors for employment in San Luis Obispo are:
- Arts, entertainment and recreation
- Accommodation and food services
- Social services
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Finance and insurance
- Computer specialists
- Light manufacturing
Some of the jobs more prevalent in San Luis Obispo than most cities are first line supervisors/managers of farming, fishing and forestry workers; wine production equipment operators, tour guides, farm workers and laborers, crop, nursery and greenhouse; first line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers; protective service workers, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers and physician assistants.
Shown below are the major employers in San Luis Obispo:
- AMI Sierra Vista Radiology
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - Education
- Child Abuse & Neglect - Social services & welfare organizations
- County Office of Education - Government
- Cuesta College - Education
- Ernie Ball Inc - Musical instruments manufacturer
- French Hospital Medical Center - Hospitals
- Medi-Cal Eligibility Info - Social service & welfare organizations
- San Luis Obispo County Social - Government
- San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Dept - Sheriff
- Selma Carlson Diagnostic Center - Medical laboratories
- Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center - Hospitals
- Social Services Department - Government
- Steno-Wolf Associates - Franchising
Business organizations in San Luis Obispo offering assistance to companies include:
- City of San Luis Obispo - Economic Development
- San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce
- San Luis Obispo Downtown Association
The New Times San Luis Obispo offers up-to-date information about the business activities in San Luis Obispo.