Southeast Alaska 2020 Economic Plan (Part 1) - P.O.W. Report

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Southeast Alaska 2020 Economic Plan (Part 1)

Southeast Conference’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2016-2020

This is all taken from the May 2016, 43 page plan that you can [find here]. The following are my highlights that I will break up into 2 Parts. Part 1 is the background and Part 2 will be the strategy. Although, everyone is encouraged to read through the whole document. 

[Background:]Southeast Conference is a designated Economic Development District (EDD) through the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). As the region’s EDD, Southeast Conference is responsible for developing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Southeast Alaska designed to identify regional priorities for economic and community development. This plan follows the new guidelines released by the US Economic Development Administration in February 2015. The CEDS is a
strategy-driven plan developed by a diverse workgroup of local representatives from private,
public, and nonprofit sectors...

Southeast Alaska’s land ownership is dominated by the federal government, which manages 94 percent of the land base [emphasis added]. Most of this (78%, 16.75 million acres) is the Tongass National Forest. The remaining federal lands are mostly in Glacier Bay National Park. The State manages 2.5 percent of the total land base (511,500 acres), including the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and University of Alaska lands. Boroughs and communities own 53,000 acres—a quarter of one percent of the entire regional land base. Alaska Native organizations, including village, urban, and regional corporations and the Annette Island Reservation own 3.4 percent (728,100 acres) of the land base.
Other private land holdings account for 0.05 percent of the remaining land base. The lack of privately-owned land and land available for development is unique in Southeast Alaska and impedes the ability of the region to nurture the private sector [emphasis added].

Southeast Maritime

It will be hard to beat 2013, our all time record year for seafood in Southeast Alaska.
The total Southeast Alaska seafood harvest in 2014 was 301 million pounds, a 37% decrease from the year before, with a total value to fishermen of $267 million.

The Seafood Industry is a Key Economic Driver

Seafood harvests have been a critical part of the Southeast Alaska economy for thousands of years, and it was over Southeast Alaska salmon that statehood itself was fought. The Southeast Alaska
seafood industry (including commercial fishermen & seafood processors) generated 4,370 average annual regional jobs in 2014, making up 12% of all regional employment earnings and 10% of all jobs.

The majority of the statewide catch of Chinook, coho, chum, shrimp, and the dive fisheries occurs in Southeast Alaska, along with approximately a third of all crab. In 2014, 9 out of 10 Alaska Chinook salmon harvested came out of Southeast Alaska waters.

Regardless of the final 2015 count, expect the volume of the 2016 seafood harvest to be below 2015 levels. The two-year pink salmon life cycle, which spikes in odd numbered years, will drive the regional harvest down in 2016.


Southeast Alaska saw a population increase of 4,350 people in the region between 2007 and 2014, leading to a new population record. The number of people in their 40s shrank by 1,300 in the past five years, and we ended up with 500 fewer teenagers. But the most pronounced 5-year shift was the continued explosion of baby boomers into their older
years. Those aged 65 to 80 grew by 34% (1,900 people). By 2017, the Alaska Department of Labor projects that a quarter
of our population will 60 or older

Alaska Department of Labor projects an additional increase of less than one percent by 2017 580 new people), but with
the public sector continuing to shed jobs,any upward population trends appear unlikely.

Southeast Alaska Resiliency Mapping Weatherizing for the Economic Storm

During the economic planning process, one of the top
threats to the Southeast Alaska economy materialized.
Oil, which once accounted for 90% of the state’s
unrestricted revenues, dropped from $127 a barrel in
February of 2012 to just $27 per barrel January of 2016,
leaving the state with a $4 billion budget gap. The
current economic outlook from this situation ranges
from worrisome to devastating. Nearly all members
surveyed (99%) said they are concerned how this will
impact the regional economy, with 84% saying they are
“significantly concerned” or have “maximum concern.”

In order to understand how our community and business leaders plan to ensure the economic resilience of their businesses, industries, and communities, Southeast Conference asked the membership to define a collective vision for resilience. Economic resilience is the ability to withstand and recover quickly from a disruption to the economic base. More than 200 Southeast Conference members from 23 communities and 24 sectors across the region participated, explaining what they plan to do or need in order to keep their businesses and communities economically stable.

1. Reduce private business
2. Increase long term economic
development planning.
3.Reduce government spending &
services. T
4. Implement taxes.
5.Maintain ferry services.

6. Increase communication with
government officials.

7.Restructure PFD to address fiscal
Through this economic plan, Southeast Conference is responding to the state fiscal situation by undertaking efforts to broaden the economic base of the region, improve the overall business climate, support the development of industries that build on the region’s unique assets and competitive strengths, and grow a more resilient workforce.

Read More: Alaskanomics: " AJOC Editorial: Money for nothing and the checks for free"

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