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Text | SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2014 | 001
Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2014
DEMOGRAPHICS MARITIME, SEAFOOD
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Changes in Southeast Alaska: 2012 to 2013
THE REGIONAL POPULATION INCREASED BY 19 PEOPLE TO 74,382 (+0.0%)
THE LABOR FORCE ALSO INCREASED BY 19 JOBS TO 46,015 JOBS (+0.0%)
JOB EARNINGS INCREASED BY 2% TO $2.14 BILLION
MINING JOBS DECREASED BY 7% (LOSS OF 60 JOBS)
74,000 MORE PEOPLE ARRIVED IN SOUTHEAST TOWNS BY PLANE, FERRY OR CRUISE SHIP, AN INCREASE OF 4%
HEALTH CARE, TIMBER GOVERNMENT
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unemployment rates are exceeding those of the nation as a whole. Metal prices are falling, less oil means less unrestricted State government revenue, and a culture of reduced federal spending (along with the elimination of earmarks) has translated into fewer dollars filtering down to municipal and tribal governments. As a whole these impacts mean that our half-decade of economic growth appears to have reached an apex (for now).
There are, however, some exceedingly bright points in our economy. An influx of 250 US Coast Guard jobs since 2010—jobs with high multiplier effects—have counteracted the loss of federal jobs in other areas (especially in the US Forest Service) and contributed to the rise of our growing maritime sector. Fishermen in the region caught 479 million pounds of seafood in our waters in 2013— toppling old records and expanding our processing capabilities. The visitor industry, which falls and rises according to the strength of the national economy, is back to near-record levels and continuing to expand.
We can expect that Southeast Alaska’s economy will continue to be flat in 2014, likely growing by less than one percent overall. Previous positive drivers for the region’s economy—such as government, mining & timber—will continue to fall; while visitor industry jobs will continue to grow.
In 2013 the Southeast Alaska economy— which had been in an expansion phase for
the previous five years—stopped growing. Both the population and the number of workers in the region grew by a mere 19 people, which is akin to no growth at all. Total wages grew by two percent. Economic trends statewide were nearly identical.
Despite our near-zero growth rate, the number of residents, workers, and job earnings each represent records for the region. We have reached a high point in the regional economy, but our momentum appears to have slowed, and some indications suggest the economy may begin trending downward. There are several reasons for this.
The Southeast Alaska economy has always had a countercyclical relationship with the national economy. When the national economy stumbles, the sheer size of our government workforce acts as a stabilizer. Further, in reaction to a weakening dollar, the value of precious metals rise, increasing the economic value of our mining industry. During these periods, our job market becomes an attractive lure for young people o ut of work in the lower-48, and our population expands.
We have experienced five years of growth partly because of these elements. However, for the first time since 2008, our regional
Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2014: A Publication of Southeast Conference
Southeast Alaska’s Economy 2014:
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