Economic Profile

If the Pajaro Valley were a county, it would rank 5th in agricultural production in California. Primary crops grown include strawberries, apples, fresh flowers, cauliflower, broccoli and artichokes. Watsonville food processors freeze and distribute more fruits and vegetables than any other single area in the United States. More than $280 million a year is spent on transporting fresh and processed farm crops to worldwide destinations.

While agriculture and food processing are the mainstay of the Pajaro Valley economic structure, the City’s economy has been diversifying with an influx of electronics, manufacturing and service firms, in addition to the establishment of distribution centers for non-agricultural products.

The main industries in Watsonville are agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. The City is home to several large national company headquarters within City Limits such as Driscoll’s Strawberries, Martinelli’s, California Giant, Monterey Mushrooms, Graniterock, Granite Construction, West Marine, Vendwize, and Fox Racing Shox.

Major Employers – 2009

10 Largest Employers:

Year 2010 Employer Industry Number of Employees
1 Pajaro Valley Unified School District Government/Education 2061
2 Watsonville Community Hospital Health & Human Services 693
3 Fox Racing Shox Sporting Goods 400
4 City of Watsonville Government 374
5 West Marine Nautical and Maritime Equipment 279
6 S. Martinelli & Co. Food Processing & Distribution 180
7 Target, Inc. Retail 211
8 Couch Distributing Alcoholic Beverage Distribution 170
9 Salud Para La Gente Health & Human Services 160
10 Mi Pueblo Food Center Grocery/Retail 144

Source: City of Watsonville, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) , June 2010


The City, working closely with the County and local employment training providers, has developed several job training programs to meet local labor market needs. Watsonville residents easily access three institutions of higher education. The University of California, Santa Cruz is just 20 miles to the north and California State University, Monterey Bay is 20 miles to the south. Cabrillo College, the local community college, which has a newly expanded satellite in Watsonville, is a Cisco Network Academy. Links to local educational institutions may found here.Not every company has the resources or the time to train employees adequately for their jobs. Yet without training, employees cannot perform at their best. Workforce Santa Cruz County offers a variety of employment and training services to help businesses and their employees. Conveniently located in downtown Watsonville, services include employee recruitment and screening, on-the-job training, wage subsidies and retention services. Information about training providers may be found here.

Industry Employment

Santa Cruz County
(in thousands)
March 2010
Civilian Labor Force: 149.9
Civilian Employment: 127

Category December 2007 March 2009 March 2010
Total All Industries 109.6 98.4 90.8
Total farm 9.8 9.7 4.5
Total Non Farm 99.8 88.7 86.3
Goods Producing 11.7 8.5 7.8
Service Producing 88.1 80.3 78.5

Wages by Occupation

Santa Cruz-Watsonville MSA

SOC Code Occupation Title Mean
Hourly Wage
Early Level
Hourly Wage
11-3051 Industrial Production Managers $47.79 $33.43
15-1040 Computer Support Specialists $25.14 $18.34
41-2031 Salespersons, Retail $12.27 $8.63
43-9061 General Office Clerks $14.49 $10.59
35-2021 Food Preparations Workers $10.27 $8.60
43-4141 Customer Service $16.29 $13.62
53-7064 Packers and Packagers $10.00 $8.43
Total All Occupations $23.42 $11.15

Source California Employment Department web site:

For customized Industry, Labor Force, and Occupation reports go


Watsonville’s central location at the junctures of Highways 1 and 129 and 152 allows easy access for ground transportation and deliveries.

In addition to having its own general aviation airport, Watsonville is conveniently located within an hour of San Jose International Airport and within two hours of San Francisco International Airport. Other local general aviation airports include Monterey and Marina.

Union Pacific rails run through the West side Industrial area. At this time the closest CalTrans station is in Gilroy, 20 miles west on Highway 152. However, within the next few years, CalTrans station has plans to bring a station to Pajaro, just over the bridge from Watsonville. CalTans will provide easy computer access to the Bay Area.

A bus transit center is located near down town Watsonville. The transit center offers residents access to Greyhound, Santa Cruz Metro and Monterey-Salinas Transit bus lines.


City of Watsonville
250 Main Street
(831) 768-3133 – Service or Capacity Questions
(831) 768-3455 – Account Setup/Payments
PG&E-Jose Rios
356 E. Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 784-3458
City of Watsonville
250 Main Street
(831) 768-3133 – Service or Capacity Questions
(831) 768-3455 – Account Setup/Payments
Telephone AT&T
Residential 1-800-310-2355
Business 1-800-750-2355
City of Watsonville
250 Main Street
(831) 768-3133 – Service or Capacity Questions
(831) 768-3455 – Account Setup/Payments
Charter Communications
Customer Service
(866) 731-5420