Dr. Mouhcine Guettabi joined Mayor Ethan Berkowitz at the Anchorage daily COVID-19 community update on Wednesday, May 6. He discussed the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Anchorage economy and the prospects for economic recovery. A video of the briefing is available from the Anchorage Daily News website. Dr. Guettabi’s presentation begins at about 16:42 and lasts about 12 minutes. His presentation can be found in ISER’s publications database.
Dr. Guettabi explained that the three sectors in Anchorage most directly impacted by the pandemic are leisure and hospitality, retail, and oil and gas. Those sectors account for 47% of employment in Anchorage, so the municipality is very vulnerable to the current economic shocks. Available state unemployment data suggest that Anchorage and the Mat-Su have lost approximately 40,000 jobs since the pandemic began. Dr. Guettabi explained why he did not believe that a quick V-shaped recovery will occur. He argued that this economic downturn should challenge Alaska to think about ways to create a more resilient economy, one that is less dependent upon external demand for its resources. Such steps would include supporting development of more local businesses that meet local demands and investments in workforce development.