• 2009 Alaska’s Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      Construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2009 will be $7.1 billion, down 3% from 2008.1,2,3 Lower construction spending, combined with higher material and labor costs, will result in a modest reduction in the level of construction employment in 2009. Although this will be the fourth year of decline, the level remains considerably above the long-term average. Excluding the oil and gas sector—which accounts for 43% of the total—construction spending will be $4.1 billion—down 1% from 2008. Private-sector construction spending will follow the slowdown in the Alaska economy. Excluding oil and gas, we expect private spending to be $1.3 billion in 2009, a decline of 24% from 2008. But strength in the oil and gas sector will keep the overall private sector decline to only 12%. Mining, utilities, and commercial spending will be down, mostly because a number of large projects have been completed. However, commercial —as well as residential— spending will be weaker, in response to the slowdown in the U.S. economy. Public construction spending will be up 16%, to $2.7 billion, offsetting much of the decline in private spending. That growth will mainly be due to the large FY 2009 state capital budget. But strong federal spending— both military and civilian— and the federal stimulus package will also contribute to the increase. Uncertainty in this year’s forecast comes from several sources. Volatility in commodity prices has affected construction spending in two important ways. The lower petroleum and metals prices in early 2009 have made investment in some prospects less attractive. Also, companies that finance construction activities out of their current cash flow are dealing with shrinking capital budgets. The national economy continues to deteriorate as we enter 2009.
    • 2010 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2010 will be $7.0 billion, down 3% from 2009.1,2,3 Wage and salary employment in the construction industry will continue the slow decline which began in 2006, but the level remains above the long-term average for the industry. Excluding the oil and gas sector—which accounts for 43% of the total—construction spending will be $4.0 billion— down 4% from 2009. Private-sector construction spending will be down only 1% from 2009, to $4.4 billion, in spite of the slowdown in the Alaska economy. Oil and gas sector spending will be flat. Spending will increase in the utilities and hospitals4 categories but will decline in mining, residential, other commercial, and the other rural basic sector categories. Public construction spending will be down 5%, to $2.6 billion, in spite of the infusion of cash from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Although some categories of federal spending will be higher, many will be lower and state spending will also be lower because of the lean FY 2010 capital budget. Uncertainty in this year’s forecast comes from several sources. As we start 2010 there is no clear indication if the national economy is starting to recover from the recession, and if it does, how strong that recovery will be. Although Alaska has been insulated from the worst effects of the recession—the crash in the housing market, high unemployment, and lack of credit—concerns about the national recovery will continue to influence investment decisions in the state, particularly in the commercial and residential markets. Local government capital spending is also vulnerable to reductions in tax revenues from activities, like tourism, driven by the national economy. The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in early 2009 has provided an important boost to construction spending this year. A second stimulus may be undertaken later this year, but it is too soon to speculate on how that might impact construction spending, so we assume no further federal action. The Alaska economy contracted in 2009 for the first time in 22 years—but the reduction in employment was only about 1%. Forecasts for Alaska’s economy in 2010 vary from further moderate declines in employment to a resumption of growth. This difference of opinion underscores the sense of caution in the business community about the near-term prospects for the economy. As the year begins, petroleum and precious metal (gold and silver) prices are strong and rising, and base metal prices (zinc) have rebounded from the lows of last year. Petroleum and mining capital budgets are particularly sensitive to these prices, which are likely to continue to fluctuate throughout the year. We assume these prices remain strong throughout the year.
    • 2011 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-02)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2011 will be $7.1 billion, up 4% from 2010.1,2,3 Wage and salary employment in the construction industry will continue the slow decline that began in 2006, but the level remains above the long-term average for the industry. Excluding the oil and gas sector—which accounts for 41% of the total—construction spending will be $4.2 billion—up 5% from 2010. Private-sector construction spending will be up 6% from 2010, to $4.5 billion, in spite of the expected slow growth in the overall Alaska economy. Oil and gas sector spending will be about $2.9 billion, up 3%. Spending will increase in the utility and hospitals4 categories, but will decline in residential and other commercial categories. Public construction spending will be up 1%, to $2.7 billion, due to the large FY 2011 state capital budget. The main infusion of cash from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has worked its way through the system, and federal spending overall has declined. Uncertainty is particularly significant in the forecast this year, especially in the oil and gas sector—in spite of high oil prices. In January 2011, uncertainty surrounds most of the large-scale petroleum projects on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet. Environmental reviews are slowing development drilling at Point Thomson east of Prudhoe Bay and Alpine West in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. Exploration drilling offshore in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas continues to face legal challenges. The offshore Liberty project is under internal environmental review. In Cook Inlet, a major offshore exploration effort awaits the uncertain arrival of a jack-up rig. In this forecast we assume most of these projects will move forward this year, but their pace is hard to predict. If several are delayed in 2011, oil and gas spending will be significantly lower.
    • 2012 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-02)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2012 will be $7.7 billion, up 3% from 2011.1,2,3 Wage and salary employment in the construction industry will be stable at the same level as last year— 15,800. This is down from a peak of 18,300 in 2005. Excluding the oil and gas sector—which accounts for 41% of the total—construction spending will be $4.6 billion, up 4% from 2011 and about the same rate of increase as last year. Oil and gas spending will be $3.2 billion, 1% higher than in 2011. Private spending for construction will be up in 2012. Public spending for traditional government purposes will be down somewhat, but public funds also help finance some projects in the utility and health sectors, which are primarily private. So overall, an increase in state spending for construction will offset a decline in federal spending.
    • 2013 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Guettabi, Mouhcine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-02)
      The Construction Industry Progress Fund (CIPF) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Alaska are pleased to have produced another edition of “Alaska’s Construction Spending Forecast.” Compiled and written by Scott Goldsmith and Mouhcine Guettabi of the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), the “Forecast” reviews construction activity, projects and spending by both the private and public sectors for the year ahead. The construction trade is Alaska’s third largest industry, paying the second highest wages, employing nearly 16,000 workers with a payroll over $1 billion. It accounts for 20 percent of Alaska’s total economy and currently contributes approximately $8 billion to the state’s economy. The construction industry reflects the pulse of the economy. When it is vigorous, so is the state’s economy. Both CIPF and AGC are proud to make this publication available annually and hope it provides useful information for you. AGC is a non-profit, full service construction association for commercial and industrial contractors, subcontractors and associates. CIPF is organized to advance the interests of the construction industry throughout the state of Alaska through a management and labor partnership.
    • 2014 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-02)
      The Construction Industry Progress Fund (CIPF) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Alaska are pleased to have produced another edition of “Alaska’s Construction Spending Forecast.” Underwritten by Northrim Bank, compiled and written by Scott Goldsmith, Mary Killorin and Linda Leask of the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), the “Forecast” reviews construction activity, projects and spending by both the private and public sectors for the year ahead. The construction trade is Alaska’s third largest industry, paying the second highest wages, employing nearly 16,000 workers with a payroll over $1 billion. It accounts for 20 percent of Alaska’s total economy and currently contributes approximately $9 billion to the state’s economy. The construction industry reflects the pulse of the economy. When it is vigorous, so is the state’s economy. Both CIPF and AGC are proud to make this publication available annually and hope it provides useful information for you. AGC is a non-profit, full service construction association for commercial and industrial contractors, subcontractors and associates. CIPF is organized to advance the interests of the construction industry throughout the state of Alaska through a management and labor partnership
    • 2015 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Cravez, Pamela (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-01-01)
      OVERVIEW The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2015 will be $8.5 billion, down 3% from 2014.1,2,3 Wage and salary employment in the construction industry, which increased an estimated 6 percent last year, to about 17,600, will decline slightly in 2015.4 Oil and gas sector spending will fall 2% to $3.8 billion from its record level of $3.9 billion last year. Other spending will be $4.7 billion, a decline from $4.9 billion last year. Private spending, excluding oil and gas, will be about $1.7 billion, down from $2.0 billion last year—while public spending will increase from $2.9 to $3.0 billion. Construction spending in Alaska in 2015 is expected to be strong in spite of the drop in the price of oil from more than $100 per barrel in the summer of 2014 to between $45 and $50 today. However, the longer the price stays low, the greater the risk that some projects will be cancelled or postponed. It is impossible to predict what will happen to the oil price, because world supply has outstripped demand. The price will stabilize, and perhaps begin to increase, only when the low price stimulates more demand and eliminates high cost production, a process that could take more than a year. A further complication is the unpredictability of the role of OPEC in determining oil supply. In particular Saudi Arabia, the largest producer, could decide to restrict supply for political or strategic reasons. Because of the drop in the price of oil, the state is facing a general fund budget deficit of about $3 billion for the current fiscal year (FY2015) and is projected to have a similar deficit in FY2016 (which begins July 1 of this year). However, this will not have a large negative impact on state government construction spending this year for several reasons.
    • 2016 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Cravez, Pamela (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-01-01)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2016 will be $7.3 billion, down 18% from 2015.1,2,3 Oil and gas sector spending will fall 25% to $3.1 billion from its record level of $4.2 billion last year. All other construction spending will be $4.2 billion, a decline of 11% from $4.7 billion last year. Private spending, excluding oil and gas, will be about $1.4 billion, down 24% from $1.8 billion last year—while public spending will decline 6% to $2.8 billion from $2.9 billion. Wage and salary employment in the construction industry, which increased an estimated 6 percent last year to almost 18,000, will decline slightly in 2016.4 The decline in construction spending in Alaska in 2016 can be traced directly to the precipitous drop in the price of oil over the last 18 months, after the previous period of unprecedented high prices a few years earlier. In mid- 2014 the price was above $110 per barrel, but as this report is being written the price has fallen below $30 for the first time in 12 years. Furthermore, the short-term outlook is for the price to remain low, or even decline further, because supply continues to outstrip demand and inventories continue to accumulate. The longer term outlook for price also continues to fall, because of the resilience of production in the face of the falling price. The high price stimulated increases in construction spending across all sectors of the Alaska economy, particularly among oil and gas companies and the state government. The low price is now beginning to reduce construction spending within the economy, except for federal spending and spending by basic industries that benefit from lower oil prices. So far the price drop has been felt most directly in the oil and gas sector. Although many companies announced optimistic investment programs for 2016, most, if not all, have recently announced cutbacks or postponements. The longer the price remains low, the greater the likelihood of further cutbacks in the oil patch. Because of the oil price drop, a deficit of $2 billion opened in the state general fund in FY2014, and it has increased to $3.5 billion for each of the last two years. Although the state has been fortunate to have sufficient cash reserves to offset this revenue shortfall in the short term, it has meant a dramatic decline in new state funding for capital projects. Whereas the general fund capital appropriation in FY2013 was more than $2 billion, in this past year it was only enough to cover the required match on federal transportation grants. And looking ahead, there is very little prospect for a significant increase in the capital budget in the coming years. But the sharp decline in the state capital budget over the last three years has so far had limited effects on construction spending. This is because it takes considerable time for appropriated funds to become “cash on the street.” Several billion dollars of capital appropriations remain “in the pipeline,” which will keep state spending from falling dramatically this year. However, the amount of construction spending will be winding down in many communities like Juneau, Kodiak, and Fairbanks (excluding Eielson Air Force Base) because of declining state spending. Because of the size of the state budget deficit, it is possible that some projects in the pipeline that have not yet been approved could be cancelled. However, this will be moderated by concern over the negative impacts on the economy from such cancellations. Spending for national defense will be higher this year. And fortunately, federal spending not related to defense—mostly consisting of grants, both to the state for transportation (roads, harbors, railroad and ferry system) and sanitation projects and to non-profits for health facilities and housing—is not sensitive to the price of oil. Since 2013 the Alaska economy has underperformed compared with the national average in spite of the stimulus of high oil prices that led to record high levels of employment in the oil and gas and construction sectors. Job growth has been less than 1% annually and is forecast to be negative in 2016. State population has not increased in the last two years. This slowdown, combined with the heightened uncertainty about the future direction of the economy, brought on by the sudden fall in the oil price, will slow new private investment—particularly in the commercial and residential construction sectors as investors adopt a “wait and see” attitude, in regard to both the private economy and the ability of the state government to deal with the deficit. The decline in private construction spending this year is also partially due to the completion of a number of large utility and hospital projects. As in past years, some firms are reluctant to reveal their investment plans, because they don’t want to alert competitors; also, some have not completed their 2016 planning. Large projects often span two or more years, so estimating “cash on the street” in any year is always difficult because the construction “pipeline” never flows in a completely predictable fashion. Tracing the path of federal spending coming into Alaska without double counting is also a challenge, and because of the complexity of the state capital budget, it is always difficult to follow all the flows of state money into the economy. We are confident in the overall pattern of the forecast. However, as always, we can expect some surprises as the year progresses.
    • 2017 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Cravez, Pamela (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-01-01)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2017 will be $6.5 billion, down 10% from 2016.1, 2,3 Oil and gas sector spending will fall 15% to $2.4 billion, from $2.9 billion last year. All other construction spending will be $4.0 billion, a decline of 7% from $4.3 billion last year. Private spending, excluding oil and gas, will be about $1.6 billion, up 2% from last year—while public spending will decline 12% to $2.5 billion. Wage and salary employment in the construction industry, which dropped by 8.5% in 2016 to 16.2 thousand, will drop another 7.4% in 2017 to 15 thousand, the lowest level in more than a decade.n 2016 the Alaska economy slipped into a recession that is expected to continue at least through 2017. Total wage and salary employment fell in 2016 by 6.8 thousand, about 2%. This year it is anticipated the decline will be 7.5 thousand, or 2.3%, which will return the economy to the 2010 level.5. Weakness in the economy is also reflected in a net outmigration of population over the last four years.
    • 2018 Alaska's Construction Spending Forecast

      Leask, Linda; Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2018-01-01)
      The total value of construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2018 will be $6.6 billion, up 4% from 2017.1, 2,3 The increase is due to a recovery in Petroleum sector spending which will grow 15% to $2.6 billion from its low of $2.2 billion last year. All other construction spending will be $4.0 billion, a decline of 2% from $4.1 billion last year. Private spending, excluding petroleum, will be about $1.5 billion, down 5% from $1.6 billion last year—while public spending will decline 1% to $2.5 billion. Wage and salary employment in construction will decline 3% to 14.5 thousand.4 After falling by half in the last two years, spending by the petroleum industry will start to recover because of the rise in the price of oil, and more support for the industry from the federal and state governments.
    • Accessing Permanent Fund Earnings to Reduce the Fiscal Gap

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-02-04)
    • ACES vs MAPA (SB21): Revenues and Jobs

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-06-25)
    • Alaska After Prudhoe Bay: Prospects for the Economy

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-04-23)
    • Alaska after Prudhoe Bay: Sustainability of an Island Economy

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-03)
      The typical sovereign island economy is small and remote. For example the remote island nations of Nauru, Niue, and Saint Helena have populations in the range of 10 thousand each. Of course not all island nations are small or remote and neither are small or remote economies necessarily islands. However it is useful to think about the economies of small and remote islands because they can help us to understand the economic structure and prospects of larger and less remote places. Island economies generally lack a comparative advantage in the production of goods or services for export to the rest of the world. This is due to distance from markets and suppliers as well as an absence of economies of scale and specialization, both of which drive up the cost of exporting goods and services. And although the economic theory of comparative advantage tells us that trade among countries can occur even if one has an advantage in the production of all goods and services, that theory can break down if costs in the small and remote economy are too high. The mechanism by which the island economy gains access to export markets in the presence of high costs is through downward adjustment in the wage. But in some cases the wage would need to become negative to overcome the cost disadvantages created by distance and size. In such a case the island would have a subsistence economy with neither exports to the rest of the world or imports. The most important private economic activities one observes in these economies are agriculture and fishing. Occasionally an island economy will be able to take advantage of a market niche to generate exports. Tourism is the most common, and mining has provided an export base in some other places. However these market activities will not necessarily be large enough to employ a large share of the population. Furthermore dependence on a single activity leaves these economies vulnerable or “precarious”.As a consequence many of these economies are dependent on foreign aid and remittances from emigrants. These funds allow these economies to purchase a basic level of imports that would not otherwise be possible
    • The Alaska Economy And The Challenge Ahead

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-11-17)
    • The Alaska Economy: How Does It Work?

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-02-01)
    • The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend: A Case Study in Implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-07)
      The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program has attracted considerable interest because it is a unique example of a BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE. In this paper, I describe the structure of the dividend program, its economic effects, some of its unintended consequences; and I close with a number of observations about how the dividend might be structured differently. My objective is to give the reader insights into the factors to consider in implementing a BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE in other places. However, before beginning it is important to present a short description of Alaska because the structure of any BASIC INCOME program and its impacts are contingent upon the particular institutional, economic, political, and social environment in which it is located. Alaska is the largest of the 50 United States measured by land area—but among the smallest measured by population. Its 700 thousand residents comprise only about twotenths of one percent of the total U.S. population. As a state within the United States, its border is open to the rest of the nation for the free movement of goods and services, people, capital, and information. Furthermore, it is subject to the laws, regulations, and policies established by the federal government. As I will discuss below, these connections create some challenges for the dividend program because the state cannot totally control its own economic and political environment.
    • The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend: A Case Study in the Direct Distribution of Resource Rent

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-01)
      The Alaska Permanent Fund is a sovereign wealth fund of the state of Alaska established in 1976 by a vote of the people to preserve part of the revenues from current oil production for future generations. Twenty percent of direct petroleum revenues have been deposited into the fund which now has a balance of $32 billion. Over its life it has generated nominal earnings of $35 billion. The successes of the fun in saving a share of the Alaska petroleum windfall and generating income are due to several factors. The boom-bust economic history of the state has been a reminder of the need to actively manage public resources. Fund management is independent of general government finances and extremely transparent. It invests to maximize long run income. In addition, the modest share of petroleum revenues set aside in the fund has left enough available for the state to expand public spending, including the establishment of a number of programs designed to strengthen the economy in recognition of the non sustainability of the petroleum sector. Since these public programs benefit particular segments of the population, the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend program was created in 1982 to provide an annual unconditional direct cash distribution to all Alaska residents. The dividend was felt to be the most equitable way to distribute a share of the public wealth of the state to the entire population. Since the inception of the program, the dividend has been paid each year. About half of Permanent Fund earnings have been allocated to the dividend program and the rest to increasing the balance in the fund. The size of the dividend has increased as the fund has grown, but it fluctuates considerably because fund earnings change from year to year. In 2010 the dividend payment was $1,281 which augmented per capita income by 3 percent. The dividend program has become extremely popular since most Alaskans feel that individuals can benefit more from deciding themselves how to spend at least a portion of the public wealth rather than allowing the government to decide on their behalf. However a minority of the population feels the dividend fosters an attitude of consumerism and leads to underinvestment. And although the dividend has created a strong constituency defending the Alaska Permanent Fund, which many feel is the main reason for the success of the fund, there is concern that the dividend will prevent the fund from being used for its ultimate purpose which is to help support the economy after petroleum production ends. Beyond its obvious positive impact on aggregate income, employment and population, little analysis has been done of other economic, social, and political effects of the dividend program. Because the dividend is not viewed as a policy to improve social welfare, but rather as a means to share public wealth equitably, interest in these other potential effects has been limited.
    • Alaska Petroleum Revenues: Coping With Uncertainty

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-12-06)
    • Alaska without Petroleum: A Preliminary Run of a Gendanken Experiment

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-03)
      For the purposes of this study, I have used a simple economic base model to describe the structure of the Alaska economy.1 In the model each component of the economic base (the economic drivers) supports a certain number of jobs and generates a certain amount of personal income, not only directly but also through indirect and induced effects. All of the jobs and income in the economy are then accounted for when the contribution of each component of the economic base is included. The jobs and income attributed to a component of the economic base represents the potential loss to the economy if that part of the base were to disappear. For example, mining is an important industry in Alaska, consisting almost entirely of primary production for export outside the state. The contribution of the mining sector to total Alaska employment consists of miners as well as workers at Alaskan businesses that supply goods and services to the mining industry and workers at Alaskan businesses that supply goods and services to the families of the miners and workers at the Alaskan supplier businesses. If all of the mines in the state were to close, the loss in jobs and income would include those at the businesses supplying the mines and the families of the workers.