Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Juneau Chamber of Commerce heard the 2017 Economic Indicators Report from the Juneau Economic Development Council Thursday.
JEDC Executive Director Brian Holst told the crowd of over 100 people at the Juneau Moose Lodge that the State of Alaska is in a recession and has experienced 23 consecutive months of job losses. "It's a lousy economy and this affects Juneau," he added.
There were 260 jobs lost in State government in Alaska last year, more than 50% of the job losses Juneau experienced. 300 total jobs were lost last year. The size of state government is down about 6%.
Other interesting items in the report included the fact that women earn more in Juneau than in other parts of Alaska and the nation. However their male counterparts are paid 38% more. Household income is higher in Juneau than the national and state average. The average household income in Juneau is $89,746, which compares to $75,558 in the United States. Retirees also play a huge role in Juneau's economy.
Southeast Alaska lost 96 residents last year. The regional population is 41,073.
"We lose high school graduates and college kids," Holst said, "We get some of them back later." Most of the residents who leave Juneau move to Anchorage of the Mat-Su Valley.
Our median age is 38 and the housing vacancy rates here have dropped to 7.3%. The city and borough reported 248 new housing units in the past year. Housing is at its most affordable rate in 20 years.
The tourism sector is also thriving. There were 339,279 air passengers in Juneau last year. Hotel revenues were nearly $1.49 million. There were a record number of cruise ship visitors, estimated at 1,060,000 in 2017. The gross earnings of the seafood harvest increased from $19.3 to nearly $19.8 million in the past year. Mining employment is stable and gross business sales are up 3.6%. Businesses who focus on tourism saw a near 9% increase in sales, about $297 million.
Holst said the positives in the report are business sales continue to rise, the private sector is stable, personal income is up, unemployment is low and the housing market vacancy rate has improved. Negatives include Alaska is in a recession that could get worse, state jobs are down, and the population of Juneau is down by about 400 residents.