• Client: Southeast Conference
  • Date: Sep 2016
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If it weren’t for state government’s fiscal unraveling, the region would be well positioned for a prosperous future.
The last five years have been good to Southeast Alaska. People came here in droves, to visit and to live. Our overall population increased by 4% as 2,730 new people joined our ranks. We broke records in terms of visitors arriving by airplane, and 2016 could be our top year ever for total passenger arrivals by all modes. Since 2010, we added nearly 2,000 jobs and $308 million in total workforce earnings, and 2015 was a record year for regional employment and earnings.
By many indications, our economy should continue to grow. Tourism is growing at 4% per year for the foreseeable future. After three years of declines, mineral prices are on the rise again, which is great news for our local mines. The maritime economy has taken off, and for the first time ever we are building Alaska ferries by Alaskans for Alaskans right here in Southeast Alaska. The seafood industry hit an all-time harvest record in 2013, and although the last couple years have been weak there are indications that next year will be better. The military has gone from being an economic footnote to becoming a key economic driver, as our Coast Guard personnel have grown to more than 800 members in 2016. As our population ages and health care needs grow, the medical industry is poised to expand to meet increasing demand.
Yet, despite so many positive indicators, we are not going to continue to grow. As the capital region for the state we are dependent on state government, both for employment and expenditures, and the economic health of the state government is declining rapidly.

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