2014 AEDC Economic Forecast Report

Measured in terms of jobs growth, the Anchorage economy continues to grow steadily. Preliminary numbers indicate about 1,000 additional jobs were added to the Anchorage economy in 2013, a 0.6 percent overall increase. Job growth is slightly behind earlier forecasts. Last January, AEDC predicted 1,700 jobs (an increase of 1.1 percent) would be added to the Anchorage economy in 2013.

Since the drop in employment in 2009, the Anchorage economy has added jobs each year. Including 2013s growth, over 7,000 jobs have been created since the recession. However, the rate of growth is slowing. Preliminary employment estimates for the 4th quarter of 2013 show Anchorage employment about 700 net jobs above the 4th quarter of 2011 (0.4 percent growth).

It is important to note that growth in Anchorage’s economy is being driven by the private sector (about 1.4 percent growth overall or 1,800 new jobs in 2013), while losses in the public sector (-900 jobs) are offsetting some of those gains.

The strength in the local economy is also reflected in unemployment data. Anchorage unemployment rates dropped again in 2013, dipping to an annual average of 4.9 percent, the lowest level since 2007. Anchorage area unemployment remains well below the U.S. 2013 unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.

On the cautionary side, while oil industry employment in Alaska reached a two-decade high in 2013, the oil tax debate continues, as does the steady decline in North Slope production. State spending is likely to be trimmed this year and federal spending is expected to continue its decline in 2014, including some restructuring of Army forces at JBER and lower Army Corp of Engineering spending.

In summary, Anchorage can expect more growth in 2014, but slower than in recent years and with a mixed performance, including continued losses in public sector jobs. However, the loss of additional government jobs should be more than offset by gains in business and professional services, health, leisure and hospitality, retail, and construction sectors.

NOTE ON SOURCE OF EMPLOYMENT DATA

This employment forecast is based on historical and 2013 (preliminary) data produced by the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development (ADOLWD). ADOLWD data includes full-time and part-time jobs by place of work, but excludes uniformed military personnel, business owners, the self-employed, unpaid family help, private household workers, and fishermen.

Download the full report (PDF file) sponsored by BP here: 2014 AEDC Economic Forecast Report