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Report: Economy looking up for San Luis Obispo County

Randol White

San Luis Obispo County's economy is looking pretty good according to the latest report delivered Friday morning in Paso Robles by an economic team out of Los Angeles.

"Jobs are up, incomes are up, production is up, housing prices are up, credit is standing. When you add it up, everything is going in the right direction," said Chris Thornberg, considered one of California's leading economists and the founding partner of Beacon Economics.

Thornberg's firm is behind the new report given to the Central Coast Economic Forecast. He says the local economy is doing well based on busy tourist and agriculture industries, and other factors.  "Everything points to continued upward trajectory, continued recovery," he said. 

The area has seen its wine harvest grow to a record level and continues to move forward. The tourism sector, driven largely by wine, is also showing strong signs, as well as good numbers in construction and whole-sale trade.
The cost of housing—driven by a lack of housing—is the area's main dark spot, according to Thornberg. He said there is no new development and that there is an inherent resistance to new development in San Luis Obispo. 
"There are a lot of folks in town who really don't want people to move here, they would rather not build new homes," he said. "They'd just prefer if everybody would just come here, leave their money and go away."

Thornberg says the labor markets have slowed over the last year, but San Luis Obispo is still one of the fastest growing economies in the state. Unemployment data for the area could be faulty, based on state numbers, and may not accurately reflect the actual strength of the local economy. 

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