Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2020
In addition to providing an overview of long-term trend analysis, Southeast Alaska by the Numbers also provides the most up to date 2020 indicator data. In many ways 2019 should have marked the region’s return to a more prosperous and growing economy. Total jobs were up, along with overall wages. Tourism, seafood, mining, and health care jobs were all up, and timber jobs were up by 10%. Nearly every community in the region posted job gains. The number of school children in the region increased for just the 3rd time in 23 years. The number of cruise ship passengers that visited the region in 2019 increased by 14% over the year before as 1.33 million passengers sailed up the inside passage to spend their summer dollars across the region’s larger port communities. The continued loss of government jobs was being offset by increases in other sectors, allowing the overall regional economy to return to a positive trajectory. On March 13th, schools across Alaska were closed until further notice, a clear signal that the COVID-19 epidemic had arrived in Southeast. The virus would soon take the regional economy down with it. From April through July the region lost nearly 7,000 jobs across every sector, but tourism was particularly devastated. The region has lost 17% of its jobs due to the pandemic so far, and is the most economically impacted area in Alaska. On top of COVID-19, Southeast Alaska is currently experiencing one of its worst fishing seasons on record.