Borough economy has pros; cons

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Thursday, January 8, 2015 10:16pm
  • News

The state of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s economy, with regards to job growth, wages and housing, has both positive and negative aspects, according to the state economist Alyssa Rodrigues.

Speaking at the Industry Outlook Forum at the Old Carrs Mall, Rodrigues said that the borough has fared better than the state in terms of job growth. Using preliminary data, Rodrigues said that, as a whole, Alaska will have zero job growth in 2015.

While the outlook for the state is gloomy, the borough will hopefully fare better.

“My forecast for 2015, which is a pseudo-forecast — it’s not official — is for 3.5 percent (job) growth,” Rodrigues said. “The reason it’s not bigger is because I tend to give you relatively conservative forecasts. I don’t want to tell you that you’ll grow by 9 percent and then have everyone be mad at me when you only grow by 5 percent.”

Rodrigues said that historically, the borough has done better than the state in terms of job growth.

With data from the first half of 2014 compared to 2013, the borough added 200 jobs and saw the highest industry growth in the health care and retail sectors.

Rodrigues said that typically, job growth isn’t seen in just one sector.

It is spread out to fulfill the needs of a growing economy. As of 2013, teacher and retail salesperson are the two most common occupations in the borough.

While the borough outpaces the state in job growth, its job market makeup (percentage of the population working in a particular job sector), is proportional to that of the state.

“(The types of jobs) are actually quite similar to the state, which is both a good thing and a bad thing,” Rodrigues said. “If the state does well, that likely means the state factors are doing well in the borough. If the state’s not doing well, that might not bode well for the borough, because they have the same factors going on.”

When it came to job salaries, Rodrigues said that before last year, the growth from year to year on the Kenai Peninsula just barely passed inflation.

Recently, however, she said that salary growth has surpassed inflation and people have a lot more purchasing power than in the past.

When it came to housing prices on the Kenai Peninsula, Rodrigues said that prices haven’t gone up that much. She said that the average house price in Kenai is cheaper than the state average, and places below Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and the Mat-Su region.

“Maybe you should buy your house now instead of waiting,” Rodrigues said.

Reach Ian Foley at ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Snow falls atop the Central Peninsula Diabetes Center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. The office opened in October, but a grand opening was held this week. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital adds Diabetes Center

The center has been seeing patients since October and held a grand opening Monday

Gary Hollier pulls a sockeye salmon from a set gillnet at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Findings from pilot setnet fishery study inconclusive

The study sought to see whether shorter nets could selectively catch sockeye salmon while allowing king salmon to pass below

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Kenai Peninsula COVID-19 case rate continues to climb

State reports three consecutive week-over-week increases to new high

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola delivers her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday, in Juneau. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

The one-term lawmaker said collaboration between stakeholders has helped produce wins for Alaska’s fisheries and the state’s economy

Most Read