Anchorage Economic Development Corporation releases outlook for Anchorage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – When it comes to new jobs, the Anchorage economy is bouncing back, according to Anchorage Economic Development Corporation President Bill Popp.

“2022 blew the roof off, with a 75% increase in new job postings during the first six months of the year compared to the average for the same period in the previous four years,“ Popp said.

One of the conclusions in a new report released Wednesday that details AEDC’s three-year economic forecast for Alaska’s largest city is that “employment continues to build back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Popp said job growth is particularly evident in the tourism sector.

“Right now we are seeing incredible numbers for the tourism sector, up 2,600 jobs so far this year,” Popp said. “That’s an amazing rebound from the depths of the disaster that they found themselves in 2020.”

But with the good news, Popp said, also comes the biggest challenge to growth in Anchorage’s economy — finding workers to fill those positions.

“Practically every employer in Anchorage has jobs open that are going unfilled for lack of qualified candidates, or, in many cases, lack of any applicants for the job,” Popp said.

Popp said for the fifth year in a row Anchorage has lost population — many of whom are of working age. He said the labor shortage is even impacting industries that were supposed to be bright spots in the economy.

“Health care is, unfortunately, struggling with trying to find workers to go to work in the health care sector. Not just in nurses and doctors, but also in food services, clerical, it’s been a real struggle for them,” Popp said.

Popp said he doesn’t expect that to change any time soon.

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“That’s going to be a problem for a while until we can start to do a better job of competing for workers from outside of Alaska as well as keeping more of the workers that we grow locally,” Popp said. “These are going to be the challenges that we’re going to be facing in the next decade and probably beyond.”

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