Consumer confidence falls as Alaska struggles

ANCHORAGE — Consumer confidence has fallen to a five-year low as Alaksa continues to struggle with a weak oil sector, budget cuts and a contentious legislative session.

The first quarter of 2016 is a low point for consumer optimism, which has fallen every quarter since the second half of 2014, The Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Oil prices began dropping in June 2014 and have not recovered.

According to a report by Anchorage consulting firm Northern Economics and Alaska Survey Research about 56 percent of Alaska residents say they think the state economy is getting worse and only 7 percent think it’s improving. About 43 percent think their local economy is weakening versus 8 percent who say economic prospects are good. Respondents had much more confidence in their own personal finances, with 55 percent saying they felt secure and 21 percent saying theirs were improving.

“People show the most concern about the thing over which they have the least control — the state economy,” said Jonathan King, vice president of Northern Economics. “There’s a lot of uncertainty. Are they planning for Armageddon or another $1,000 a year in taxes?”

Mouhcine Guettabi, assistant professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, said the survey doesn’t mean spending will necessarily change. He said responses depend on personal factors such as if the respondent works in the energy sector, and therefore is feeling worse about the economy, or if they are more removed.

“The survey tells you there is anxiety, but it doesn’t tell you necessarily about spending,” Guettabi said.

He said better metrics might include sales of homes, cars, boats and other high-price items that require longer-term financial stability to purchase.

He said he worries that so much talk about a recession and an economic downturn in Alaska may play a part in making the state’s economy work.

“The concern I’ve had is that there are sectors of the economy that are inevitably going to go through pain,” he said. “Some belt-tightening and cutbacks may happen that are not based on fundamentals.”

___

Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October of 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for t​​he Week of April 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, April 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The “Newtok Mothers” assembled as a panel at the Arctic Encounter Symposium on April 11 discuss the progress and challenges as village residents move from the eroding and thawing old site to a new village site called Mertarvik. Photographs showing deteriorating conditions in Newtok are displayed on a screen as the women speak at the event, held at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Relocation of eroding Alaska Native village seen as a test case for other threatened communities

Newtok-to-Mertarvik transformation has been decades in the making.

Bailey Woolfstead, right, and her companion Garrett Dunbar examine the selection of ceramic and wood dishes on display at the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on behalf of the Glory Hall at Centennial Hall on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empty Bowls provides a full helping of fundraising for the Glory Hall

Annual soup event returns to Centennial Hall as need for homeless shelter’s services keeps growing.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon and her husband Greg. (Photo courtesy of the City and Borough of Juneau)
Greg Weldon, husband of Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon, killed in motorcycle accident Sunday morning

Accident occurred in Arizona while auto parts store co-owner was on road trip with friend

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, April 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, April 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, April 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Delegates offer prayers during the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 89th Annual Tribal Assembly on Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Muriel Reid / Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Tribal Assembly declares crisis with fentanyl and other deadly drugs its highest priority

Delegates at 89th annual event also expand foster program, accept Portland as new tribal community.

Most Read