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Anchorage Economic Development Corp. announces results of latest research at sold-out luncheon

1,500 turn out to hear forecast


The Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index (ANCi) measures Anchorage households’ optimism in the health of the local economy, their personal financial situation and their outlook on the future.


Today, the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. released five reports with updates on the city’s economy at its sold-out, annual Economic Forecast Luncheon. The 2017 Economic Forecast, the Live.Work.Play report card, the Anchorage Cost of Living Index, the Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index and the Anchorage Business Confidence Index paint a picture of the current state of Anchorage’s economy, showing how consumers and business owners alike feel about their community’s financial situation, their own financial situation and their expectations for the future.
“2016 presented Anchorage, and the entire state of Alaska, with some serious financial hurdles that definitely affected overall confidence,” said Bill Popp, president and CEO of AEDC. “We’re heading into this year a more confident city, and stronger for it, but a keen understanding of our challenges is key to overcoming them.”
The 2017 Economic Forecast, sponsored by BP and compiled by the McDowell Group, examines recent economic trends, analyzes a wide range of economic and business activity indicators, interviews representatives of businesses and organizations in various sectors and current events to gain an understanding of forces likely to be shaping business conditions affecting job growth in Anchorage in 2017.

·      AEDC expects the Anchorage economy to shed another 2,200 jobs in 2017, or 1.4 percent.

·     Though employment is trending down, business confidence is actually quite stable, increasing in most areas this year. This illustrates an underlying resilience in the local economy. Though job loss was seen across most sectors, health care continued to grow, adding 900 jobs.

The Live.Work.Play report card, sponsored by Coffman Engineers, shows how Anchorage stacks up nationally in the categories of living, working and playing. Many factors contribute to these rankings, and the city’s numbers fluctuate each year. It’s AEDC’s goal to make Anchorage the number-one ranked city in all of these categories by the year 2020.

·     Anchorage increased 10 places from 2017 to 27th place in the “Live” category. This can be attributed to factors such as a lower cost of living, which balances out the increase in health care cost. Due to a drop in average wages and incomes as well as the addition of the "gender pay equity," metric that Anchorage scores poorly in, Anchorage has dropped 13 places in the “Work” category to 15th place.

·      The city increased one place in the “Play” category to 12th place. In the past year there was an increase in library visits and a strong showing of recreational opportunities such as restaurants, parks and museums per capita.

The Anchorage Cost of Living Index measures the relative price of consumer goods and services. It’s measured nationally in 264 areas around the country.

·      Anchorage’s overall index in 2016 was 130.2, or 130.2 percent of the national average.

·      Another way of saying this is that the cost of living in Anchorage is 30.2 percent higher than the average American city.

·      This ranks Anchorage as the 20th most expensive city, of the cities surveyed for the 2016 COLI survey.

The Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index (ANCi), sponsored by Key Bank and generated by Northern Economics, measures Anchorage households’ optimism in the health of the local economy, their personal financial situation and their outlook on the future. A value above 50 represents optimism in the economy, and any value below 50 indicates a lack of optimism.

·      In 2016, the fourth-quarter ANCi was 52.0, continuing an upward trend from the second quarter’s low reading of 48.2.

·      Anchorage residents were increasingly confident about the local economy, with the score increasing 2.1 points to 54.4. Personal financial confidence continued to hold strong with a score of 63.2.

·      Expectations for the future, which asks respondents if they feel their community’s economy is getting better, worse or staying the same, gained 1.6 points for a score of 45.2.  

The Anchorage Business Confidence Index (BCi), sponsored by Premera and produced in partnership with McDowell Group, assesses business conditions in Anchorage to measure the city’s overall confidence entering the new year. Similar to the ANCi, a score above 50 indicates an optimistic outlook while a score below 50 shows a pessimistic view.

·      The 2017 Business Confidence Index increased from 48.8 to 50.1.

·      Five of the six indices have shifted upward since January 2016, a year that showed record lows.

·      The one decrease from January 2016 was a one-point loss in employment confidence down to 52.2.

AEDC is a private, nonprofit membership organization developed in 1987 to encourage growth and to diversify the Anchorage economy. The organization has more than 250 investors, which represent all industries in Anchorage and Alaska. The vision of AEDC is for Anchorage to become the No. 1 city in America to live, work and play by 2025. For more information visit www.AEDCweb.com.


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