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Regional Focus

By Tracy Barbour

City and Borough of Juneau Spectacular capital city in Southeast

©2012 Christopher S. Miller /

A hiker takes in the view of Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island and Downtown Juneau from the top of Mount Juneau in Southeast during summer.


ocated about 600 air miles south of Anchorage, the City and Borough of Juneau is known for its relatively mild weather, spectacular vistas and rich culture. The CBJ is a unified municipality surrounded by the lush, green Tongass National Forest, the largest in the country. Situated at the base of Mount Juneau in the Alaska Panhandle, Juneau sits on the Gastineau Channel with majestic fjords and Mendenhall Glacier nearby. Boasting slightly more than 31,000 residents, Juneau is the third-largest city in Alaska. It is also the state’s capital city and the reigning hub of the Southeast. Juneau offers a unique blend of modern amenities in a charming pastoral setting, making it one of the most vibrant and appealing cities in the state.


The City and Borough of Juneau’s economy is dominated by one sector: government. In fact, local, state and federal government employment make up 41 percent of the city’s jobs, according to Alaska Department of La-


bor (ADOL) economist Mali Abrahamson. Based on preliminary estimates, the 2011 annual average employment in the city and borough was around 18,000, with roughly 7,400 of those being government jobs. The most stable piece of Juneau’s government employment pie is state government. The local government is facing uncertainty in its funding and budget-related woes. “Our school district is looking at budget shortfalls and has announced 66 job cuts for the next year,” Abrahamson said. The city also can expect to be impacted by budget cuts with the federal government in the coming years.

Other Key Sectors

Beyond government, Juneau has a variety of other industries that fuel the local economy, including fishing, tourism, health care, mining, education and construction. In the past few years, Juneau has had a big “bump” in the health care and mining indus©2012 Chris Arend tries, according to Abrahamson. “We haven’t gotten back to 2008 levels

quite yet, but we’re on a three-year upward trend,” she said. Part of the boost in the mining industry is coming from the Kensington gold mine, located about 50 miles north of Juneau. The underground mine, which opened in 2010, hired between 300 and 400 people during development. It expects to employ 200 full-time workers during its anticipated 10-plus-year life span. Another growth industry for the CBJ is professional services. The increase, though slight, is a nice trend because these are generally higher-paying, fulltime jobs. However, other sectors aren’t faring as well. The CBJ is still losing jobs in construction and some of the recreation industries, Abrahamson says. As a positive, Juneau has a considerable number of high-salary, permanent jobs, compared to the state of Alaska. “You can grow all the jobs you want, but you want to grow year-round, highpaying jobs,” Abrahamson said. “We’re fortunate to have ballast here with government employment.” • Alaska Business Monthly • April 2012

April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  

Alaska Business Monthly’s 2012 Corporate 100 annual special section begins on page 86. Top citizens of industry are highlighted in this annu...