Action Line: Alaska Economic Trends illuminates private sector, corrections industry growth

    According to Unit Chief Dan Robinson, "Alaska tends to have a little bit higher earnings on average. We have the 6th highest average hourly earning in the nation at $28.50."

    Alaska ranks fairly high in the nation for average hourly earnings in the private sector.

    The ranking was included in the June edition of Alaska Economic Trends published by the Research and Analysis Unit of the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    According to Unit Chief Dan Robinson, "Alaska tends to have a little bit higher earnings on average. This is just private sector, and we have the 6th highest average hourly earning in the nation at $28.50. The highest state was Massachusets at $31, and the lowest was Mississippi at $19.94."

    Job growth was ranked in the June edition.

    "We are 48th. We had -0.8%," Robinson stated. "The state with the most growth was Idaho at 3.6%, and Wyoming actually had a 4% decline in jobs over the year. We are 50th in state goverment job growth. Our state government has grown less than any other state between April 2015 and April 2016 time period; it fell by 4.8%. At the opposite end, Vermont's state government job growth was 4.5%."

    Alaska ranked 50th in unemployment at 6.6% in April, compared to the low of 2.5% in South Dakota.

    Another article in the June edition of Alaska Economic Trends deals with the growth of the corrections industry in Alaska.

    Anchorage Economist Neal Fried authored the corrections industry piece.

    "In the last ten years, that grew about 40%, which is basically five times as fast as other state government employment," stated Fried. "Over one-third of the new state government jobs created over the last decade were created in corrections alone. One of the reasons why it's grown rapidly is because of the rapid growth in the inmate population, which is particularly true here in Alaska."

    Fried stated that Alaska has seen a 58% increase in its prison population over the last decade.

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