A year ago, a major earthquake rocked Southcentral Alaska, damaging infrastructure throughout the region. With building and road damage comes the need for construction. Is that construction boost enough to help the economy as a whole?
Earlier this year, a forecast of construction industry spending in the state in 2019 factored in earthquake-related spending — that part came out at about $200 million.
“Which is just a couple of percent of the total,” economist Scott Goldsmith said in an interview in June. “So in the big picture it’s not a whole lot.”
Goldsmith put the forecast together for the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.
Now, a year after the quake, are those impacts visible? Economist Neal Fried with the Alaska Department of Labor says it’s hard to say for sure.
“It will be hard to definitely measure because there’s so many other stuff going on,” Fried said.
Still, he said while it’s hard to measure the overall impact, there is economic activity that can be traced back to the earthquake.
“There are some measurable things out there,” Fried said. “There have been some very large buildings in this town that have had to go through pretty significant reconstruction to get them livable again…there certainly is a lot of activity tied, and still will be next year, probably, tied to the earthquake.”
Raeann Grantham is Bethel’s only dog groomer. She set up shop this fall and her business took off quickly.
KYUK Reporter Greg Kim contributed to this story.