Indicator of the Week: How Southeast Alaskans Earn A Living
How Southeast Alaskas Earn a Living
The communities in Southeast Alaska each have their unique characteristics. The character of each borough and census area is defined in part by how its residents earn a living. Per capita personal income (as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis) measures income in several different categories:
- Compensation to Workers includes wages, salaries, and employee benefits paid by the employer, such as health insurance premiums and retirement account contributions.
- Business Profit is business income retained by business owners as profit. It also includes inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments.
- Investment includes interest and dividends from private companies, as well as rental income. Native Corporation dividends are included in this category.
- Transfer Payments include payments from a government entity to an individual that are not payments for goods or services rendered. The Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, Medicare and public assistance medical payments, government retirement income, social security, food stamps, and unemployment insurance payments are included in this category.
In 2010, Juneau residents received 67% of their income through employee compensation (wages and benefits), the highest in the region. In all other areas in the region, residents earn less from working for others. Haines tends to have a high percentage of self-employed residents, and receives 41% of its earnings from business profits. On average, Petersburg residents (followed closely by Wrangell and Sitka) receive about of a fifth of their income from investments. Residents of the Hoonah/Angoon and Prince of Wales/Hyder Census Areas, as well as the Wrangell Borough, receive over a quarter of their income from transfer payments. This analysis only considers monetary income and does not account for subsistence activities. Subsistence harvest is in a sense income because it can reduce a resident's need for money.