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. The CEDS 2020 Southeast Alaska Economic Plan is a strategy-driven plan developed by a diverse workgroup of local representatives from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Over the course of 12 months, 27 workshops and strategic planning meetings Southeast Conference members developed an overall vision statement, a list of six goals, 47 objectives, 8 priority objectives, and regional and industry specific SWOTs analyses. More than 400 people representing small businesses, tribes, native organizations, municipalities, and nonprofits were involved in various elements of the planning process.
We asked the people who experience the marine highway’s benefits first hand to describe its value: the mayors, tribal leaders, business owners, tourism directors, fishermen, economic development experts, and other community leaders. These Alaskans’ stories weave together to form a single tale: Transportation is the lifeblood of coastal communities, and a strong ferry system is essential to local economic development, quality of life, and community well-being. There are 35 ports spanning 3,500 miles that are connected by Alaska’s state ferries. Here are 25 stories from coastal communities that rely on the Alaska Marine Highway System.
This publication tells two stories about the regional economy: a positive tale of five-year trends, and a more sobering one-year analysis and future forecast. Over the last five years we added 2,600 people and 1,500 jobs to our economy. Total workforce earnings increased by $275 million, with most of that coming from the private sector ($209 million). With the exception of government, nearly every sector flourished. New jobs and investments occurred in the areas of seafood, tourism, mining, construction, healthcare, maritime, and energy. However, data from the last year especially indicates a contraction. Between 2013 and 2014 there were few areas of growth, and many indicators trended slightly downwards. Our population declined by 30 people. Jobs fell by 300, mostly in the areas of government, construction, and health care. There were 34,000 fewer cruise and ferry visitors to the region. The value of seafood harvested in the region fell by $92 million. The price of gold fell by 10%. Early 2015 job reports show more losses on the way. The most concerning signal is the long-term strength of our government, which accounts for more than a third of all workforce earnings in the region.
The Southeast Alaska Business Climate Survey takes the “pulse” of our local business community and the economy. It is completed every five years to help us better understand the obstacles and advantages of owning and operating a business in Southeast Alaska. The survey tracks change in economic outlook over time by industry and community, along with tracking which institutions are most valuable to local businesses. Finally, it tracks private investment in the region. The survey focused on Southeast Alaska business owners and top managers, though non-business leaders could take a much shorter version of the survey as well. The 2015 online survey was designed and administered by Rain Coast Data. The survey was conducted in Summer 2015. The survey was taken by 416 Southeast Alaska business owners and top managers. Business owners and operators from 29 communities in Southeast Alaska responded to the survey. This includes 165 company presidents, owners, or CEOs, and 84 senior executives, senior officials, directors, vice presidents, or managers. An additional 167 who took the survey identified themselves as self-employed.
Southeast Conference also developed a new publication to track growth in the Southeast Alaska Maritime Industry. This report tracks Southeast and Alaska maritime sector growth over the past four years. From 2010 to 2013 maritime-related total wages in Southeast grew 24 percent across all components of the industry, an increase of $74 million in direct wages. Cycles in salmon harvests and earnings explain part of this, but the growth is striking in comparison to 5 percent growth in maritime earnings statewide, or $139 million, during the same period. Direct employment also increased, up by 13 percent, or eight hundred jobs. Employment in maritime industries increased 12 percent between 2012 and 2013, while wages grew 12 percent. This publication was released in March 2015.
This document is a summary of the overall regional SWOT analysis. Participants from 22 different communities across the region generated 1,200 individual written comments regarding the region's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats. There was a clear consensus regarding the top responses for each category: Top Strength: Our people and our Southeast Alaskan spirit. Top Weakness: Transportation costs. Top Opportunity: Seafood & product development. Top Threat: Federal government regulations and overreach.
This publication quantifies Southeast Alaska’s maritime economy. Just over one-quarter of all Southeast Alaska wages are directly earned through ocean related employment in 2012. Taken together the businesses and government agencies that are directly tied to the ocean comprise Southeast Alaska’s largest economic sector.
This year the report provides a one-year snapshot of regional economic and socioeconomic trends. It shows that while the economy of Southeast Alaska has been in an expansion phase since 2008, in 2013 that growth leveled off. The 12-page overview provides analysis on demographics, employment, and earnings; the maritime, visitor, seafood, mining, timber, and health care industries; along with public sector developments.This publication is being widely used by policy makers, planners in the region, and due to the significant response to the document, this is now an annual publication of Southeast Conference.
Calculating the economic impact of art and artists is notoriously difficult, but we at Southeast Conference wanted to better understand the role of the Southeast Alaska arts economy as a whole. The strong Southeast Alaska arts sector is an economic asset that stimulates business activity, generates tourism revenue, attracts and retains residents, and boosts quality of life. This publication, released in 2015 shows that altogether artist, arts organization, and audience spending in Southeast Alaska totaled an estimated $57.8 million in 2013. The study summarizes arts employment and wage data, as well as presenting the findings of The Economic Impact of Arts in Southeast Alaska Survey, which was taken by more than 600 artists and art organizations across the region.The study found that the arts economy is nearly three times as larger in Southeast Alaska than in the US as a whole, and is an important driver of the regional economy.
This publication is a pilot project to identify actions to promote self-sustaining communities and a resilient food system. The study examines local food systems throughout the region to see what challenges exist and how they can be solved so Southeast Alaska communities are more food secure and sustainable.