What is it? On April 7, 2014, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation is launching an extensive survey of the Anchorage business community called the Business Retention & Expansion Survey. The Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Survey will gather detailed data on the greatest opportunities and challenges for growth facing Anchorage businesses. The survey covers a broad range of topics, from workforce and hiring needs, to infrastructure and facilities issues. AEDC will design and execute strategies to address issues identified in the survey, with the end goal of making Anchorage a better place to do business.
Why should you participate? This survey gives Anchorage businesses an opportunity to be heard and influence the direction of economic development in Anchorage. Tell AEDC what challenges and opportunities your business is facing so we can better design strategies to address barriers to business growth. Survey responses will be kept in the strictest confidence by AEDC.
Who should participate? Business owners and executives. We will be accepting one response per business.
How to participate? CLICK HERE! The BRE survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. THANK YOU for you participation!!
BONUS: Businesses who complete the survey by May 31, 2014 will be eligible to win prizes, including:
Thank you to the following companies and organizations, for helping to design the survey questions and spread the word:
Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU)
Anchorage Municipal Light & Power (ML&P)
Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce
Port of Anchorage
Solid Waste Services (SWS)
Alaska Small Business Development Center
Anchorage Community Land Trust
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd.
University of Alaska Center for Economic Development
World Trade Center Alaska
Unemployment in Anchorage was at 5.7 percent in February, well below the national average of 7 percent and the statewide average of 7.6. The Anchorage Economic Development Corp. released the February data in an employment report sponsored by First National Bank Alaska.
AEDC notes in the report that the unemployment rate generally declines each month through May. “With anticipated growth between new construction, the oil and gas industry, information and retail, we’re optimistic about Anchorage’s economy,” said AEDC President and CEO Bill Popp. “The community and region continues to enjoy a very low unemployment rate, the challenge now is to identify the workforce to sustain the growth.”
This year, the private sector has added more than 900 jobs in Anchorage, counterbalancing a loss of 400 government jobs. The industries with the largest year-to-date growth are oil and gas, information services and retail, combining for 650 new jobs.
The construction industry is down 100 jobs to date but is encouraged by a forecast by the Associated General Contractors of Alaska of 18 percent growth statewide in 2014 with more than $9 billion being spent on upcoming projects.
There is an estimated 8,617 unemployed people in Anchorage actively looking for work. Also noted in the report is that survey figures for February are preliminary and will be revised next month.
Last year, the cost of living in Anchorage was 26 percent higher than the national average, according to the Cost of Living Index report issued by the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. The data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) ranks Anchorage as the 23rd most expensive city in the country and AEDC is analyzing the report findings to identify ways in which Anchorage can become a more affordable city.
The index compares cost of living data for Anchorage to 306 participating areas nationally, measuring housing, health care, miscellaneous goods and services, grocery, transportation and utilities costs. Anchorage’s overall index in 2013 was 126.2, or 26.2 percent higher than the average American city.
The highest reading of the index is the cost of housing, which ranks Anchorage as the 20th highest in the nation. Housing costs have been on the rise since 2008, with the cost of a house up 2.87 percent from 2012 and 7.8 percent from 2011. Cost of health care is also high, with Anchorage ranking as the fourth highest in the nation behind Fairbanks, Juneau and Kodiak.
“The COLI report may be disheartening, but we see positive movement that may point toward a solution,” said Bill Popp, president and CEO of AEDC. “Remodeling and expansion of supermarkets in Anchorage contributed to a significant decrease in grocery costs in 2013, suggesting that growth and diversification is key to reducing our cost of living. Encouraging new businesses to come to Alaska, as well as aggressively growing our existing economic base, will help to ensure future prosperity in our state.”
The grocery index, which has been declining steadily over the last two years, is at its lowest annual reading since 2007. Increased competition, including several new Walmart superstores, a new Sam’s Club and updated Fred Meyer stores, are responsible for this drop. The transportation index is also down, with readings that have been trending closer to the national average for the past three years. The utilities category is the lowest index of the group, with a reading of 99.