Monday, June 14, 2010

Fried Over Easy

Ben Stein has competition nipping at his coattails.  Neal Fried, head economist for the State of Alaska, Department of Labor, Research and Analysis Section, presented as entertaining a commentary  that went over as easily among listeners about Alaska's, Washington's and the national economy as any other economist/comedian.

Among Fried's comments at today's meeting of the Transportation Club of Tacoma:
  • 2009 is the first time Alaska's economy has shrunk in 21 years
  • There have been 21 consecutive years of uninterrupted growth in Alaska
  • Even then, job losses were -0.5% in 2009, compared with -4.6% for WA and 6.1% for US
  • Easy to understand since AK's economy is so different: 
    • 1/3 oil industry
    • 1/3 federal
    • 1/3 everything else
  • Employment forecast
    • 2010:  +0.4%
    • 2011:  +0.6%
  • Growth rate of 1.3% for 2000-2009
  • 2009 first time ever Alaska's unemployment rate was below US average unemployment rate
  • The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is of vital interest to AK
    • BP is state's biggest oil producer
    • Already impacting drilling permits offshore
    • May increase interest in gas line proposals
Presented by the Alaska Committee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, this event was another in a series of continuing initiatives to share more about the economic partnership tieing Alaska and Washington States.

Sponsorship support was provided by Alaska Airlines.

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