Good opportunities on Kenai Peninsula

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Thursday, March 31, 2016 3:05pm
  • Opinion

This week, the Clarion published its annual look at the economy of the Kenai Peninsula. While there is certainly a fair amount of discouraging economic news, we’re pleased to see that there’s also some bright spots when it comes to the current economic environment.

The low price of oil is having an impact around the peninsula. Obviously, the oil industry accounts for a large portion of the state’s revenue, and we are starting to feel the cuts, with more still to come over the next couple of years. And while the industry itself accounts for a small portion of the Kenai Peninsula’s work force, it remains a large part of the economic picture.

However, explorers in the Cook Inlet basin continue to move forward with plans — good news for the region’s economy as well as the region’s energy security.

Also benefitting the Kenai Peninsula is a more diverse economy than in other parts of the state. We don’t have all of our eggs in one basket here. The tourism industry, for example, is seeing a rebound on the peninsula as visitors come from the Lower 48, where the economy has recovered from the recession. And love them or hate them, the personal-use fisheries are a huge draw for in-state visitors.

Commercial fishing continues to be a crucial part of the economic picture. News this week that projected improvement in king salmon returns will allow managers to open the commercial season with fewer restrictions provides a boost for the industry, which has weathered its own challenges over the past few seasons.

The peninsula’s health care community also continues to grow, providing additional employment opportunities. Small businesses that are able to find their niche are doing well. The housing market on the peninsula also is stable, and housing costs are among the most affordable in the state. And local governments have a strong record of careful, cautious budgeting.

We know it’s not all rainbows out there. There have been layoffs, and some local businesses have closed their doors. It’s a tough market right now.

But it’s also not entirely gloom and doom. There are good opportunities on the peninsula — and plenty of bright people ready to take advantage of them.

More in Opinion

Opinion: Humanism and the billionaire class

Compromise is the right thing to do and they should do it.

Opinion: The challenged truths of 3 elected representatives

“Politicians lying is nothing new.”

This photo shows the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The wrong way to define demand

And as glaciers go, the Mendenhall is only a minor attraction.

Zachary Hamilton (Courtesy photo)
Borough mayoral candidate: ‘The best is yet to come’

Zachary Hamilton is running for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor in the special election

Love, INC in Soldotna, Alaska, provides homelessness prevention and housing services to people on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: COVID relief funds help homeless children in Alaska

We need to sustain this kind of investment.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska must act now to capitalize on carbon markets

Alaska has vast forests and coastlines that can provide natural carbon management

Opinion: MLK Day clinics offered in the ‘spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice’

Attorneys across the state will be spending their holiday as “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

The M/V Tustumena comes into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia in 2010. (Homer News File)
Opinion: New federal funding could aid Alaska Marine Highway System

The evidence is clear that the AMHS is in grave danger of failing and moving into Alaska’s history books

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’ve seen the union difference

As a community we can show solidarity…

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Sullivan’s irrelevance in defense of democracy

Two years ago this week, supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol…

People vote in polling booths at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: What’s on your 2023 schedule so far?

There is a Kenai Peninsula Borough Special Mayoral Election coming up in February

Soldotna City Council member Dave Carey testifies in support of the Kenai Peninsula Reentry Coalition during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Vote Carey for borough mayor

I know the responsibilities and obligations of being borough mayor