ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A recent report shows spending on construction in Alaska is expected to increase by 10 percent this year, a sign the state's struggling economy is on the rebound.
The forecast from the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska shows the value of "on the street" construction spending is expected to be $7.2 billion, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
That would be 10 percent more than spending in 2018.
The report, prepared for the Associated General Contractors of Alaska and released last month, says that type of spending refers to the level of activity anticipated in 2019.
A majority of the spending, about $4.4 billion, will be in the private sector, while the public sector is expected to add $2.6 billion, the report said.
Both the petroleum industry and national defense are each expected to have 13 percent increases.
Recent oil discoveries on the North Slope led to the optimism in that industry, while missile defense work at Clear Air Force Station and Fort Greely, plus the planned arrival of F-35 jets at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, are behind the national defense figure.
The report also estimates that about $200 million will be spent on construction related to repairing damage from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30.
"Spending will be cautious elsewhere as the economy continues to recover from the recession," the report says. The state's projected $1.6 billion budget deficit could also contribute to the caution.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development estimated 5.8 percent job growth in the construction industry, the highest of any sector this year.
On-the-street spending is different from the measure of new contracts because those can span more than just one year.