Southeast Alaska’s economy is booming, according to a report published this week by the Southeast Conference, a business trade association.
Contrary to false statements frequently made by the Southeast Alaska timber industry and its political supporters that Southeast Alaska’s economy and population are weak and shrinking, the Southeast Conference report shows the exact opposite to be the case.
The report indicates that Southeast Alaska has more residents – and more jobs – than ever before and that the region has recovered from the 1990’s logging industry crash.
“Nearly every single economic indicator in the region is up and continuing to rise. It has taken nearly two decades, but the Southeast Alaska economy is now in a cycle of growth and is stronger than ever,” Meilani Schijvens told CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld. Schijvens, a research analyst for Sheinberg Associates, assembled the report.
Gov. Sean Parnell, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Forest Association, and other pro-timber stalwarts should read the report since they frequently complain about how the region supposedly suffers from a lack of jobs and a shrinking population. They use these false arguments to make the case that old-growth logging in the Tongass needs to be revved up. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The majority of Southeast Alaskans know that what these advocates of Tongass old-growth logging say is both wrong and exactly the opposite of what the region’s fisheries and tourism industry need – wild, scenic landscapes balanced with careful development.
Read the CoastAlaska and Juneau Empire stories on the Southeast Conference report, or check out the full text of the Southeast Conference report.