DCN ARCHIVES

February 27, 2006

Alaska forecasts construction boom

$6.5B spending influx predicted

Anchorage

Alaska should see more than $6.5 billion in construction spending this year, according to a forecast by economists at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

That’s up 13 per cent from last year’s $5.7 billion in spending, the economists said in a report for trade groups Construction Industry Progress Fund and the Associated General Contractors of Alaska.

The number of construction jobs won’t grow as much because part of the increase in spending is due to the rising cost of materials, the report authors said.

More than half of this year’s projects, 60 per cent, are in the non-governmental sector, said economists Scott Goldsmith and Mary Killorin, both of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Oil and gas construction is the biggest portion of private spending at $2 billion, up 11 per cent.

Mining is expected to see $200 million.

Around $715 million in housing is slated to go up this year, with commercial real estate funding another $300 million.

Utility construction is up by nearly half, with projects worth around $400 million on the books, the authors said, while hospital building is down nearly 40 per cent to $220 million.

Public construction of $2.6 billion will be primarily federal. National defense projects are expected to cost $730 million, highways $450 million and airports and harbors $330 million.

The education sector, with twice as much building this year, is expected to total $310 million.

Federal grants have fueled strong growth for nearly a decade, the authors said.

The money that comes in for projects has a multiplying effect, boosting the economy in general through the spending of people employed on the projects.

Associated Press

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