Wages Remain Stagnant for South Coast Workers

Yet Unemployment Has Dropped to a Historic Low

A survey of 124 South Coast workers conducted by UCSB labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein found that wage rates remain stagnant even though unemployment rates have now dropped to a historic low of 4 percent. This violates basic economic theory, Lichtenstein noted via a UCSB press release. “That’s inexplicable in a theoretical sense,” he said. In four out of five job categories, Lichtenstein said Santa Barbara’s median hourly wages were lower than those of California in general.

Lichtenstein — who is actively supporting a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in the City of Santa Barbara from $9 an hour to $15 — said he also discovered that many of workers surveyed were subjected to “wage theft,” meaning they were not paid overtime or given the time off legally required for breaks and meals. In addition, he found a large number felt pressured to work while sick or risk losing their job. Roughly two-thirds of the workers Lichtenstein surveyed were Latino. Undocumented workers, he said, skewed the results. “If you’re undocumented, then everything is worse,” he said.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Morning Train Runs On Time and Roomy

Twelve weeks after start of commuter service, train is less than half full.

Alleged Butane Honey Oil Dealer Arrested

Dylan Sulit-Swalley was paroled from Pelican Bay State Prison last year.

Crying Children Audibly Illustrate Border Crisis

Inhumane separation of families protested by everyone from Melania Trump to Xavier Becerra.

Two Injured in Alleged DUI Collision

Pedestrians, ages 91 and 50, were walking near Linden Avenue at Ninth Street in Carpinteria.

Carpinterians Gather to Protest Border Policy

'Families are the building block of our entire society,' said Carpinteria Mayor Fred Shaw.