Santa Barbara has a diverse economy powered by tourism, education, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, government and agriculture. The service sector provides approximately 35% of the jobs in Santa Barbara. Education has a significant role in the region's employment due to the area's five institutions of higher learning. In addition, many of the largest employers in the Santa Barbara area are located in the nearby town of Goleta.
The Santa Barbara region also includes a prominent high-tech research and development sector which includes defense and aerospace. According to the Santa Barbara Technology Group, at least 500 high-tech companies started in the Santa Barbara area. The Santa Barbara Technology Group also states that the tech industry is the highest paying and fastest growing component of the local economy. Numerous investors including American Express Financial, Microsoft Corp and Chase Capital Partners have put millions of dollars in venture capital into the Santa Barbara area's high-tech research and development sector.
Some of the most popular occupations in the Santa Barbara area where the majority of the employees have college degrees include teachers, registered nurses, wholesale and manufacturing representatives, computer software engineers, systems software; management analysts, financial managers, computer programmers, computer software engineers, applications; social and human services assistants and sales managers.
Shown below are the major employers in the Santa Barbara area:
- Cottage Health System - Non-profit organization
- Doubletree - Fess Parker's Resort - Hotels & Motels
- Four Seasons Resort -Biltmore - Hotels & Motels
- Jordanos Inc - Grocers - Wholesale
- Mission Linen Supply Inc - Linen Supply Service
- Montecito FM Inc - Radio Stations & broadcasting companies
- Santa Barbara City CLG - Universities/Academic
- Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital - Hospitals
- Santa Barbara Sheriff's Dept - Sheriff
- University of California - Santa Barbara - Education
- Intuitive Surgical
- Calient Networks
- InTouch Technologies
- Superconductor Technologies
- Occam Networks
- Wyatt Technology
- Bargain Network Inc
- Bacara Resort and Spa
- Citrix Online
- Deverux Foundation
Noteworthy information about Santa Barbara: In 2007 the median household income was $57,547. The cost of living index was at 142.1 in 2008 which is very high when compared to the national average of 100. About 40% of the population over the age of 25 has a bachelor's degree or higher.
The major sectors for employment in the Santa Barbara region are:
- Accommodation and services
- Professional, scientific and technical services
Business organizations that offer assistance to Santa Barbara companies include:
The Santa Barbara News-Press offers up-to-date information regarding the business activities in Santa Barbara.