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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 11, 2011

Front Page Photo by MARVIN DAVIS

Winter at Ward Creek
Front Page Photo by MARVIN DAVIS

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Alaska: 2011 Economic Forecast Released - The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development released its annual industry employment forecast for 2011 in the January issue of “Alaska Economic Trends.” The forecast - which covers Anchorage, Fairbanks, Southeast and the state as a whole - predicts continued economic recovery this year.

“While Alaska felt the effects of the national recession, we fared much better than most states,” Commissioner Click Bishop said in the magazine. Employment levels recovered in 2010 and for the second year in state history, Alaska’s unemployment rate was lower than the nation’s.

At this time last year, the department of labor reported a 2009 loss of 2,100 jobs statewide and predicted a loss of 1,400 jobs in 2010. Instead, statewide Alaska added 1,900 jobs between 2009 and 2010. The “Trends” forecast for 2011 is similar to the 2010 estimate: modest growth of about 1,800 jobs.

Most industries are likely to remain stable in 2011, with health care providing the largest number of new jobs. The department projects that continued strong commodity prices, a recovering visitor industry, improved consumer confidence, healthy fish harvests, and a strong fiscal position bode well for employment growth in Alaska this year.

Unlike the other areas, Southeast may face a slight decline in jobs. Economists expect structural demographic changes and hesitant tourists to erode employment in retail trade, transportation, and leisure and hospitality

According to the January 2011 "Trends" article by Mali Abrahamson, Economist with the Alaska Department of Labor, Southeast Alaska exceeded economic expectations in 2010. Even though economic forecasts predicted a loss of jobs, Southeast’s preliminary counts show a 0.4 percent net increase in nonfarm employment said Abrahamson.

Though the overall change in Southeast Alaska was small, there was movement in many sectors said Abrahamson in the January issue of Alaska Trends. Trade, transportation, manufacturing, information, construction, and leisure and hospitality lost jobs last year, while education, health care, professional and business services, and mining industries employment grew.

Abrahamson predicted that despite mild job recovery in Southeast Alaska in 2010 after a 2.2 percent decline the year before, overall employment in Southeast is expected to drop by 400 jobs, or 1.1 percent, in 2011.

Abrahamson predicted in "Trends" that structural demographic changes and hesitant tourists will continue to erode employment in the trade, transportation, leisure, and accommodation sectors. However, government, mining, and health care will provide enough ballast to keep overall Southeast Alaska job losses small.

Jobs in Southeast Alaska increased as population fell.

According to Economist Abrahamson's article, employment in Southeast has grown overall over the last two decades, but in the same period its population peaked in 1997 and has steadily declined since. This downward trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

While Alaska’s population has grown, Abrahamson reported that Southeast has lost nearly 4,500 people since the 1997 peak. Its population is older as well, with a median age of 39 in contrast to the statewide median of 33.5 years of age.

In general, the smaller population in Southeast Alaska will result in less overall demand for nonbasic goods and services. However, Abrahamson said, because growth differs among age groups , demand for some goods and services will be affected more than others. An aging population typically requires more social and health care services, reflected in the overall employment stability in that industry.

Abrahamson predicts that the weak U.S. economy will hurt tourism .The reduction in cruise ship passengers in 2010 hurt the Alaska visitor industry. Preliminary counts show cruise ship passenger numbers down 142,000 from 2009, and they are forecasted to be lower in 2011 as well said Economist Abrahamson in the Alaska Trends Economic Forecast report. Bed taxes, airline passengers, and out-of state ferry passengers also declined between 2008 and 2009.

While some cruise firms plan to add ships in 2011, overall visitor traffic will likely remain below 2009 levels. With slow predicted economic growth in the rest of the nation and the world, the tourism industry’s performance will certainly be lackluster rports Abrahamson.

Not only do visitor numbers decline in poor economic climates, but those who come are more likely to travel on a budget and spend less on goods, dining, and accommodations reports Abrahamson. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 11, 2011



Alaska: NOAA EXTENDS COMMENT PERIOD FOR WESTERN STELLER SEA LION PROTECTION MEASURES RULE - NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is extending the comment period for the interim final rule to reduce commercial fishing for groundfish stocks in the Aleutian Islands. The objective of the rule is to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of or adversely modify critical habitat for the western distinct population segment of Steller sea lion.

The original public comment period for the interim final rule ends Wednesday, January 12, 2011. NOAA’s Fisheries Service filed with the Federal Register today a notice extending the public comment period for an additional 45 days, to February 28, 2011.

NOAA Fisheries published an interim final rule on December 13, 2010, to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to restrict primarily Atka mackerel and Pacific cod harvests in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Atka mackerel and Pacific cod are important prey species for Steller sea lions, and this action reduces potential competition for prey between Steller sea lions and the groundfish fisheries. A notice correcting errors in the interim final rule was published on December 29, 2010.

The comment period occurred over the holiday season, limiting the number of work days available to the public for developing a response to this action. At the request of and to provide adequate time for various stakeholders and other members of the public to comment on the interim final rule, NOAA Fisheries has decided to extend the public comment period for an additional 45 days, to end on February 28, 2011. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 11, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696

letter Revilla Road By Wade Purdy - I just wanted to say that the truck driver that assisted those drivers did an awsome job. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 11, 2011

letter Federal Overreaching By Tyler Mecham - I'm writing in response to the article posted Thursday January 6, 2011 concerning Governor Parnell's speech to the Fairbank's Rotary Club. In my opinion he is correct. We as Alaskans cannot just sit around while rights get stepped on. To do so would be foolish and irresponsible. - More...
Friday PM - January 07, 2011

letterRevilla Road Problems By Ken Arriola - A couple of things; the front page photos submitted by locals are incredible, simply the best, one of the reasons I look forward to logging-on daily to Sitnews, much more interesting than that other publication, keep those photos coming.

Personally, and without knowing the exact details, I'm willing to cut the State Troopers some slack on this Ward Lake/Revilla road issue, since jurisdiction on that road has been an ongoing bone of contention. And, as a result, it doesn't surprise me that a level of frustration may exist on the State Troopers' part. - More...
Friday AM - January 07, 2011

letter AMERICA DEFEATED By David G. Hanger - So easy is xenophobia, so easy self-justification, so easily the dead treadmill to those about to die, each corpse robed as hero sublime, beckoning, ever beckoning, for more and more to follow his lead. How long this time this column of lemmings? - More...
Friday AM - January 07, 2010

letter TO “CONFUSED” By David G. Hanger - The type of confusion you are experiencing is a self-limiting, and pathetic, condition that has no known cure. I certainly make no claim to having discovered one. - More...
Friday AM - January 07, 2010

letterFerry ski-high rates By Jay L Baldwin - Two thirds of the Alaskan voters or more live in the Northlands. -- Southeast Alaska was supposed to get a marine highway system to serve the needs of the Alaskan people. Wrong. We have a marine highway system that Alaskans cannot afford. Someone, at some point back in time lost sight of the objective. A highway is supposed to be free. At first fees were very low. But not now. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 05, 2011

letter Lack of enthusiasm? By Kim Hendricks Just a thought, if we continue to keep our eyes closed to what is happening in this community, shame on us. I do not wish to re-live the day that my young one and his friend and even younger sister were outside playing when a car almost ran them over on a dead end street. The driver was in a hurry so that they could take care of someone in another house in their own brutal way. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 05, 2011

letterThank You By Kathie Johnson - I just would like to thank Mrs. Chaudhary's daughters for their care for others. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 05, 2011

letter You too are on your own By Katherine Alguire - I have to agree with the public on this one. If you are in distress and TRYING to flag down the law, they should stop and offer some assistance. The trooper should have asked himself, "why are they trying to get my attention" and offered some assistance, whether it be a radio call or some one blocking off the road. Did the Trooper know that no-one was hurt? Did the Trooper by some chance know all who were down that road were all okay? He never investigated. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 05, 2011

letter RE: Alaska State Trooper Bashing By Art Bailly - Wow Mr. Willis, it sounds like you're one of those troopers. 1. What does this have to do with a vehicle accident (Vehicle in the ditch and icy road conditions)? Don’t try to change the subject. One has nothing to do with the other. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 05, 2011

letter Alaska State Trooper Bashing By Scott Willis - How is it the fault of the Alaska State Troopers for a 16 year old delinquent girl that has no self discipline or personal morals and requires RYC custody for behavior training? - More...
Tuesday - January 04, 2011

letter Aircraft Carriers Unavailable By Donald A. Moskowitz - This letter references numerous points in Steve Cohen’s article in Forbes of October 25, 2010 entitled “Where Are The Carriers?”, which concerns the availability, value, and number of U.S. aircraft carriers. - More...
Tuesday - January 04, 2011

letter Open Letter: Economic Development By Kurtis R. Morin - I understand that certain members of the Ketchikan Assembly have expressed a preference for confining the borough's economic development program solely to infrastructure projects. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letter RE: State troopers not wanting to get involved By Gary Keele - As a parent here in Ketchikan I can understand the absolute concern about the Troopers Not wanting to get involved and being rude. I have a 16 year old daughter that is in RYC Again ( Thank You Jack for all you have done for us). - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letter America is being held hostage By Martha Leftwich - American voters were angry when they went to the polls November 2, 2010, many didn't bother to even cast their vote at all. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letter Confused By Laura Plenert - Regarding David Hanger's harangue, bless you Lesley for being able to understand what David Hanger is spouting about. It is difficult to wade through his diatribe and get the point. - Page...
Monday - January 03, 2011

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