The 2009 Goleta Economic Forecast covered some hot topics for the young city, including impacts of the oil industry, controversial incorporation issues and major commercial development projects.
University of California, Santa Barbara, Economic Forecast Project Executive Director Bill Watkins said Goleta’s economy will continue to grow slowly, estimating a 1.3 percent increase in gross city product in 2008 and forecasting a 1.2 and 1.5 percent increase in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Population is expected to decline slightly by 2010. Job growth is relatively flat and salaries in various industries are expected to rise between 2 and 4 percent in the next two years. The service sector accounts for a large portion of Goleta’s employment, Watkins said, but the jobs in that area tend to pay less.
Retail sales have been disappointing, he said, dropping about 2.5 percent in 2008 and likely further in 2009. Locally, Watkins said high fuel prices well help the oil industry pick up and generate economic activity, but will also make commuting difficult for workers that can’t afford to live in the area.
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