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AEDC 3-Year Outlook Luncheon


AEDC’s annual 3-Year Outlook Luncheon was held Wednesday and featured a recap of the 2016 employment numbers and a look forward to the next three years. 2016 was a difficult year that saw 3,000 jobs lost in Anchorage. Of note are the industries who stayed flat during 2016. Specifically the social assistance sector. These organizations saw an increase in need throughout the community, but did not grow their sector. They worked to do more with less while still meeting the increased need.

Moving to the first half of 2017, the preliminary numbers show a loss of 1,600 jobs, which is a decrease of 1 percent. Unfortunately there is only a short list of sectors who gained or were flat in the first six months of the year. There was a loss in retail of 600 jobs, but stores have not been closing. Like many sectors, they are doing more with less. There is concern about the ability of brick and mortar shops to stay open with many retailers relying solely on ecommerce.

Housing has remained steady in Anchorage but AEDC warned that we are not growing as much as we could due to permitting and zoning issues within the Municipality. Building is strong in the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage needs to focus on building housing that young professionals and seniors are looking to find. This will take consideration from the Municipality for zoning and permitting to allow for such construction.

The program continued with the 2017 Q2 Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index. The overall consumer optimism index was at 47.5, the lowest mark since the report was started. The breakdown of confidence levels are as follows: Local Economy Confidence: 46.9; Personal Financial Confidence: 62.0; and Future Expectations: 40.6. Anchorage consumers feel good about their personal finances but are very unsure of the future and the local economy. It was noted that this survey was distributed during the uncertainty of the legislative session, which likely led to a lot of the lack of confidence in the future.

For the 3-year outlook, Anchorage will likely remain stable in some factors, but will probably remain in a recession for a year beyond what was originally predicted. Air transportation is a chance for Anchorage to shine. Passenger volume is expected to grow in the next three years as well as air cargo. Anchorage is the 5th busiest air cargo airport in the world. Volume through the Port of Anchorage is also expected to rise through 2020.

Anchorage has opportunities in this time of transition and Mayor Berkowitz is very optimistic that as a city we can come out of the recession strong andh bring Alaska into a new season of prosperity.

In summary:

  • The latest employment data indicates job losses in several key industry sectors are leveling off.
  • Job losses are now being felt in the services sector.
  • Residential and commercial real estate values are generally stable.
  • Bankruptcies and foreclosures remain relatively low.
  • Businesses and consumers have negative confidence in the future.
  • A solution to the state government fiscal crisis is critical to overcoming the ongoing crisis in confidence that will keep Alaska in recession for a 3rd

The presentation from the lunch is available at www.aedcweb.com.

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