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Growth continues for Anchorage economy: City adds 1,800 jobs in 2012

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation forecast another promising year for the city at its 2013 Economic Forecast Luncheon today. AEDC reported that 2012 employment exceeded expectations with 1,800 jobs added to the economy for a 1.2 percent growth,about 300 jobs more than the corporation predicted in its forecast last January. This growth is expected to continue at just more than 1 percent with 1,700 new jobs anticipated in 2013.

“Over the last three years Anchorage has added more than 5,000 jobs, that’s incredible for a city our size or any size,” said AEDC President and CEO Bill Popp. “Our unemployment is well below the national average and business owner confidence is on the rise.

“While we celebrate this growth, we remain cautious as we move forward. Our long-term outlook needs to reflect the continued decline of North Slope oil production and the potential decline in federal spending.”

The average unemployment in Anchorage was 5.6 percent in 2012 compared to 8.1 percent nationally.

The forecast predicts health care; leisure and hospitality; and, professional and business services sectors to lead the city’s growth in 2013 with 400 new jobs in each. Retail is expected to add 200 new jobs and 100 jobs are expected in the transportation markets. Construction, finance and oil and gas are expected to remain flat this year. Government employment is expected to decline by 300 jobs.

At the luncheon, AEDC also reported on its Business Confidence Index survey, which polled 113 businesses and organizations across the municipality. With a maximum score of 100 being most optimistic, the composite index scored 60.7, up slightly from last year’s score of 59.8. Overall, each of the five fields surveyed trended upward: capital expenditures, employment, net profits, gross sales and the Anchorage economy. Health insurance costs is the largest concern for local employers with 74 percent surveyed reporting it as a barrier for growth; 69 percent reported the availability of a professional/technical workforce and 59 percent the availability of semi-skilled workers as barriers.

The corporation’s effort to develop Anchorage into the no. 1 place in the nation to live, work and play received a boost at the luncheon with the announcement of six agencies and companies to become Live.Work.Play. Champions. United Way, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Anchorage Library, Anchorage Park Foundation and the Performing Arts Center were each recognized for its commitment to the Live.Work.Play. vision and community programs. More Live.Work.Play. Champions will be announced in the coming months.

AEDC is a private, nonprofit 501(c)6 membership organization developed in 1987 to encourage growth and to diversify the Anchorage economy. The organization has more than 230 investors, which represent all industries in Anchorage and Alaska. For more information visit www.AEDCweb.com.

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