SLO County among top 10 areas in U.S. for millennial job growth

kleslie@thetribunenews.comJuly 11, 2014 

San Luis Obispo County ranked among the top 10 in the nation for job growth for millennial workers aged 22 to 34, according to a recent analysis of 175 metro areas across the country.

The study examined average job growth across 23 industries and compared discrepancies between baby boomers (age 55-64) and millennials (age 22-34) in those industries.

Between 2007 and 2013, the San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles metro area saw an 8.9 percent growth in the overall number of millennials in the workforce, according to data published in a study from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. This ranks it as sixth best for millennial job growth among the nation’s metro areas, and brought the total number of millennial workers in the county up to 37,437.

Because of discrepancies between the size of the metro areas compared — for example, the San Luis Obispo area versus the significantly larger Los Angeles population — some of the percentages in small metro areas are subject to large fluctuations, where bigger metro areas stay stagnant.

In individual industries, SLO County performed best in mathematics and computer occupations and production and manufacturing occupations, posting the second highest growth rate for millennials in both industries.

According to the data, the number of millennials in computer and mathematical occupations in the county grew by 39.1 percent. Only one other metro area — Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, S.C. — had more growth, adding 39.7 percent more millennials in the computer and mathematics industry.

The number of millennials in production and manufacturing occupations increased by 17.3 percent, and was only beat by the 21.5 percent growth among millennials in that industry in Greeley, Colo.

San Luis Obispo County placed among the top 10 for millennial job growth in three other industries as well, ranking third in transportation and material moving (12.4 percent), fourth in office and administrative services (7.1 percent) and fifth in sales (13.8 percent).

The county had one of the smallest numbers of baby boomers in the workforce, compared with other metro areas, with only 19,344 people between the ages of 55 and 64 being employed locally. This put it at 167th size-wise among the 175 metro areas examined in the study.

Despite this, the San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles metro area ranked among the top 10 for baby boomer job growth in two industries: ninth for both personal care and service occupations (32.9 percent) and production and manufacturing occupations (23.6 percent).

Besides job growth, the study also compared the share of millennials and baby boomers in the same industries.

San Luis Obispo County ranked 20th overall for share of millennials in the workforce, with roughly 29.5 percent of the total workforce being between the ages of 22 and 34. It ranked 102nd nationally for the share of baby boomers in the workforce, with 15.2 percent.

The area also saw the third highest share of millennials in computer and mathematics occupations, with 41 percent of that industry’s workforce, and the fourth highest share of Baby Boomers in the legal profession, with 23.2 percent of that industry’s workforce.

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