Alaska’s 2018 Construction Spending Forecast

Construction spending in Alaska this year will be around $6.6 billion, up 4% from last year. But that overall increase is due just to a recovery in spending by the petroleum industry, which is expected to be up about 15%, to nearly $2.6 billion. Without petroleum, overall construction spending in 2018 is likely to be down about 2%, to $4.1 billion.

These estimates are from the newly released 2018 construction forecast, prepared by Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at ISER, for the Associated General Contractors of Alaska and the Construction Industry Progress Fund. He has made these forecasts of construction spending every year since 2004.

Download Alaska's 2018 Construction Spending Forecast.

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Who Earns More: Private or Public Workers?

Mouhcine Guettabi and Andrew Bibler, both assistant professors of economics at ISER, recently compared the paychecks of people in private and public sector jobs in Alaska. Using Alaska Department of Labor data from 2001 through 2016, they found:

• Average earnings are higher in the private than the public sector. That's because men earn more than women, and men make up a bigger share of private workers—55%, compared with 43% in the public sector.

• Men who work for state and local governments earn on average about $2,000 less per quarter than men working for private businesses. The reason why is that overall, men who take public-sector jobs start out at considerably lower wages—and their wages don't catch up over time, even though they increase somewhat faster than private wages.

• Women working for state and local governments earn on average about $500 more per quarter than women in private-industry jobs. That's because overall, the starting salaries for women in public and private jobs are similar, and salaries for women in public-sector jobs grow faster as they spend time in their jobs.

Download Public and Private Sector Earnings in Alaska (PDF, 619.3KB), prepared for the Alaska Department of Administration, by Mouhcine Guettabi and Andrew Bibler. If you have questions, get in touch with Mouhcine Guettabi at mguettabi@alaska.edu or 907-786-5496 or Andrew Bibler at ajbibler@alaska.edu or 907-786-5452.

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Major Upgrade of Alaska Energy Data Gateway

The Alaska Energy Data Gateway is an online database that UAF's Alaska Center for Energy and Power, ISER, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory established several years ago, to give communities across Alaska a broad range of data they can use as they develop and improve their energy systems.

Now, the gateway has had a major upgrade. Users can search by Alaska community for information to help them determine whether specific communities have the financial and technical capacities—and the skilled people—they need to develop sustainable energy systems. A new interactive search tool also makes it easier to find information from across the state. To learn more, check out the press release (PDF, 1MB) or visit the gateway at https://akenergygateway.alaska.edu/.

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Lunchtime Talk: The Opioid Epidemic in Alaska: A Baseline for Measuring Prevention

The Partnerships for Success Project is a five-year project intended to prevent and reduce non-medical use of prescription opioids, as well as use of heroin, among Alaskans ages 12 to 25. The state’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is carrying out the project, working with community coalitions that develop local prevention strategies.

DHSS contracted with ISER’s Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services to evaluate the project. Bridget Hanson, the evaluation director, and Jodi Barnett, the lead project evaluator, talk about their work so far, to establish a baseline for measuring the project’s success over time.

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Lunchtime Talk: It Pays to be a Man: Rewards for Leaders in a Coordination Game

Philip Grossman, this semester’s Rasmuson Chair of Economics at UAA, will talk about his recent work in experimental economics—looking at gender differences in the effectiveness of leaders, and in how followers assess the effectiveness of leaders. His experiment involved having people decide how much of a bonus to award men and women who gave them the identical investment advice. The results suggest that among equally effective leaders, women are assessed less positively and rewarded less generously than men. Join us at ISER to learn more about Dr. Grossman's research.

When: Thursday, November 9, 12 to 1
Where: ISER conference room, third floor, 1901 Bragaw Street, Suite 301

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