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Juneau economy up a notch in 2012

City tops state for healthy living

Posted: November 2, 2012 - 12:06am

Though government employs nearly half of all Juneau residents, it was private industry that grew employment from 2010 to 2011.

While average wage and overall wages also rose, businesses spent $2.33 billion in 2011, up 11.7 percent from the previous year.

Juneau Economic Development Council gave a report on its 2012 Juneau and Southeast Alaska Economic Indicators at the Chamber of Commerce Thursday lunch lecture. JEDC Executive Director, Brian Holst and JEDC Program Officer, Eva Bornstein were there to talk about the organization’s findings.

Though wages and employment are up, so too are the costs of living and doing business in Juneau. Average rent increased by nearly a percent from 2010 to 2011 and the price of a single family home at $329,974 rose by 3.2 percent.

Juneau was found to be healthiest place to live with the state’s second healthiest residents.

Juneau had 32,290 residents in 2011. Southeast increased its population by 2.6 percent over 2010. “All of Southeast has trended up in population in the last four years,” Bornstein said. Juneau’s percent increase in population was much higher than the state as a whole. Approximately 2,052 people moved to Juneau and 1,715 moved away.  A quarter of the in migration came from inside Alaska. Since 2007, the 50- to 59-year old age group has been the largest group in Juneau.

There is also a trend in the 20-to 29-year old age group, Bornstein said. It is now the third largest group in Southeast. Looking out at the next 20 years, JEDC predicts a flat growth rate for Juneau and a fraction-of-a-percent drop for all of Souheast.

JEDC’s report covers public and private jobs and wages.“How we make our money in this town,” Bornstein said.

Tourism is Juneau’s largest private employer with 2,171 annual average employees. Health care accounts for 1,797 jobs while Juneau’s two precious metal mines employ over 600 with a total payroll of $56 million. Mine work continues to boast the highest average annual wage at $88,688. Construction work provided another 655 jobs and $40 million to the local economy.

Juneau’s commercial fish industry pulled in 22.7 million pounds of fish valued at $26.4 million. Retail employed 1,994 with a $52 million payroll.

But the big money comes in the form of Juneau’s public employees.“We are a government town,” Bornstein said. Local, state and federal employees totaled 13,347 in 2010-2011 with an average wage of $50,925.

Job numbers grew in Southeast Alaska by one percent in 2011 and wages increased by 2.3 percent. On the flipside, unemployment in Juneau peaked in 2009 and 2010 and are now falling slightly, according to JEDC’s economic indicators report. Rates averaged 5.3 percent in 2011 compared to 7.6 percent for the state and 8.9 percent for the nation.

Not all numbers are increasing. Federal and state government, leisure and hospitality, information local government and construction all lost jobs between 2010 and 2011. Construction took the biggest hit with a loss of 74 jobs.

Of Juneau’s 27 federal employers, the U.S. Coast Guard has the biggest presence with 350 employees. The state of Alaska employs nearly 25 percent of Juneau’s workforce.

For more information visit www.jedc.org/economic-indicators

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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