Neal Fried was in Wasilla today giving a great presentation regarding the Mat-Su economy to the Valley Board of Realtors. Neal is an economist for the State of Alaska. He has a talent for making statistics seem interesting. He is excited about research. I was excited about his statistics. All the charts are courtesy of Neal Fried, click on them to enlarge.
Here are some of the highlights:
The population in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough continues to grow even though other population areas are shrinking. The chart to the top left illustrates that. The valley continues to show healthy growth even though Anchorage actually experienced negative growth. The state as a whole also saw negative growth as the yellow column shows.
Job growth in 2006 was slower, but still healthy. The four years previous to 2006 showed job growth of over 1,000 new jobs per year but 2006 saw only 646 new jobs. Fried’s guess is that 2007 will be similar to this year in job growth.
Housing affordability has decreased. This has been the case nationwide. Prices of homes have increased to the point that it now takes 1.9 workers at an average Valley income to afford the average home in the valley. However, since Anchorage wages are higher it only takes 1.4 Anchorage workers to afford that same home. That is the reason we have so many Anchorage workers living here. In fact, 35% of our work force commutes to Anchorage. In addition, another 10% work elsewhere in the state.