Alaska Economic Trends
Alaska Economic Trends is a monthly magazine that covers a range of economic topics.
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Alaska Economic Trends are searchable from 1961 to the present using the Trends search page. The search can include any combination of the following: Key Words, Date Range, Author, Category
For 20 consecutive years now Alaska's job count has grown. It's the longest uninterrupted stretch of growth since statehood and one that only seven other states can match. The streak is expected to continue in 2008, although growth is forecasted to slow to 0.6 percent.
There are few industries in Alaska as large or that have grown as much as health care. It has a presence nearly everywhere in the state and includes a broad spectrum of occupations, ranging from surgeons to home health aides. The industry employs more people in Alaska than the federal government, state government, oil industry or most other industries. The industry had at least 29,000 jobs in 2007 and its payroll was about $1.2 billion.
Nonresident workers in 2006 made up 19.9 percent of Alaska's workers and earned 12.9 percent of the total wages, representing 78,840 workers who made $1.53 billion. Those are slight increases from 2005, when nonresidents made up 19.1 percent of all workers and earned 12.2 percent of total wages.
Economic change in Alaska often comes with a bang. The short list of transformative events includes the gold rush, the sudden and explosive growth of the military in the state during World War II, the discovery of oil and the construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
Alaska men, on average, continued to earn significantly more than women in 2006, and the wage difference between the two has not changed much since 1999. Female workers, as in previous years, earned less than male workers across all industry and age groups, almost all geographic areas, and most occupations in Alaska.
It's hard to say whether Skagway would even exist had it not been for the Klondike gold rush touched off by the 1896 discovery of gold in Canada's Yukon Territory. The Tlingit people had fi shed and hunted in the area for centuries, but the town itself took form when hopeful miners poured into the area on their way to the Chilkoot and White Pass trails, and then beyond to the Yukon.
Few economic topics generate as much consistent interest in Alaska as the state's high cost of living. For all its resource wealth, Alaska's relatively small population depends on outside sources for most of its consumer goods, and the state's remoteness creates extra costs. Interest in the cost of living has grown even more acute in the last few years as energy prices have skyrocketed and food prices have climbed. This annual article on the cost of living in Alaska will look at the most current information available from a variety of measures and surveys in an attempt to give multiple perspectives on this high-profile topic.
Mortgage lending activity - the number of loans, their dollar volume and sales volume - fell statewide in the second half of 2007 compared to a year earlier. The average sales price for a single-family home fell slightly, while it increased for condominiums and multi-family homes.
There's little doubt that the discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay transformed Alaska's economy far beyond anyone's imagination. With as much as a third of the state's current economic activity somehow tied to oil, it certainly deserves a prominent place on Alaska's economic stage.
For the first time in Alaska's history and Trends 100's 21-year history, a private Alaska employer broke the 4,000-employment barrier. It's no surprise that it's Providence Health & Services. The medical provider grabbed the top spot as the state's largest private-sector employer back in 2001, and it's grown since then.
Alaska is still the No. 1 fishing state in the nation, a position it's held since 1975, based on the state's 2007 catch. The catch was Alaska's third-highest in value since statehood and it's sixth-largest in volume.
A spate of new large retailers opened in late 2008 and more are scheduled to open in 2009, at the same time retail is facing closing and layoffs across the country. But it's too early to tell if Alaska will fully escape those travails. Only time will tell.