Alaska Trends


ew industries have been spared the pandemic’s disruptions and far-reaching effects. And fewer have a clear path to recovery. Fortunately for Alaska’s construction industry, there is some cause for optimism according to a recent report from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Construction projects across the state are a silver lining in an otherwise bleak year for Alaska’s economy. In Anchorage, real estate construction in particular is trending up, with the number of new home permits hitting a new high since 2015. Record-low interest rates mean refinancing opportunities are skyrocketing. Elsewhere in Fairbanks, a growing military population could result in an added boost to home construction and remodeling. And with the long-awaited rollout of a few promising vaccines, this month’s installment of Alaska Trends delivers news of a few other welcome developments.

2020 Employment Recap graph
2020 Recap
Pandemic disruptions don’t appear in first quarter employment data, but they were obvious by April. In the months that followed, job losses swept the state and left no major industry unscathed.

COVID-19 surged in Alaska later in the year, with total monthly cases more than doubling from October to November. For context, Alaska’s first 6,000 cases took nearly seven months to accumulate, but the state recorded 6,000 cases in the first nine days of December. Anchorage entered another “hunker down” phase for the entirety of December.

Source: Alaska Department of Labor Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section
Machinery and Construction Worker illustration
2021 Employment Forecast Statewide By Industry
Construction expected to see a slight uptick in employment from 2021.
2021 Employment Forecast Statewide Construction graph
2021 Employment Forecast Statewide Oil & Gas graph
2021 Employment Forecast Statewide Mining & Logging graph
2021 Employment Forecast Statewide Leisure & Hospitality graph
Investments in Fairbanks
After years of a shrinking population and economic stagnation, Fairbanks is beginning to recover. A regional hub, many of the businesses in Fairbanks remained open during the mandated shutdown. 2021 will be more about recovery than growth for industries that support construction projects.
Money dispersing illustration
Air Force illustration
$500 Million
The Air Force invested $500 million in 41 construction projects around Eielson. These projects include new hangars, a flight simulator, and a new school.
6.7% Population Growth
A growing military population will give the construction industry an added boost with new home construction and remodeling.
Machinery and Construction Worker illustration
Investments in Anchorage
Significant air cargo projects at the airport and work on the new cement dock at the Port of Alaska will begin in 2021. Highway construction, which is mostly federally funded, also looks promising.
Airport illustration
Bond package illustration
$83 Million Bond
The $83 million bond package passed for the Anchorage School District boosted the 2020 construction season and will continue in 2021.
Home Sales illustration
Increase in Home Sales
Anchorage home sales were up slightly through Sept. 2020. The average price rose in 2020 and refinancing skyrocketed with record-low interest rates.
New Home Permits illustration
5 Year High in New Home Permits
Anchorage issued the largest number of new home permits in five years through October 2020.
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Investments in the Southeast
Investments in Alaska’s coastal communities—such as new cruise ship docks—will eventually bear fruit with construction and mining expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
$15 Million
Juneau anticipates winning a $15 million FAA grant this year for its ongoing airport terminal reconstruction project.