Measuring the Economic Impact of Interior Alaska Native Organizations

The Client

Doyon, Limited, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), and the Fairbanks Native Association have had a years-long, consistent effort to carefully monitor the economic impact of Alaska Native organizations in Alaska’s Interior. In 2017, Information Insights was contracted for our fourth round of economic impact analysis as part of this effort. The additional project sponsors included the Interior Regional Housing Authority and Denakkanaaga, Inc.

Services Provided:
Research & Analysis, Public Engagement
Scale: FNSB, Rest of Interior, Municipality of Anchorage, Rest of Alaska
Client: Doyon, Limited, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association
Client type:
Interior Tribal Governments, Village Corporations, Regional Alaska Native Corporations

Project Date: October 2017 – November 2018
Project Lead: Jana Pierce

The Challenge

While the results of this study are worthwhile and fascinating, it’s also a significant and continued investment. Why are these organizations continuing to monitor the economic impact of Alaska Native communities in their region? What does this information tell them, and how is it useful?

Showing the economic weight of Interior Alaska Native organizations, alongside the Oil and Gas Industry, Seafood Industry, Mining Industry, Visitor Industry, to name just a few, is profoundly important to the project sponsors, the shareholders and Tribal governments they serve, and – more broadly – Alaska as a whole. It tells an often untold and unconsidered part of the story of what Interior Alaska Native Organizations do in their community at large and in the state. Namely, this study clearly demonstrates the infusion of jobs that primarily go to Alaskan residents and dollars that are primarily invested here in our community.

Our Approach

Throughout this project, Information Insights and project sponsors engaged in a massive data collection effort. The project was designed to create a holistic understanding of the critical economic role Alaska Native organizations play in Fairbanks, Interior Alaska, and the state as a whole. Of course, we included data on existing workforce,overall spending, and dollars from payroll and construction, etc. But economic impact goes much deeper than that. The study aimed to capture the indirect impact of a dollar circulating through the economy as it is spent and re-spent, creating widening ripples of job creation and investment in the community. This phenomenon, and the data that supports it, is key to fully understanding and illustrating the economic might of these organizations.

How did we do it? Working with project sponsors, we created a data set of expenditure and employment data from Interior Tribal Governments, Village Corporations, and regional Alaska Native Corporations statewide. We did this by sending surveys to 73 Alaska Native organizations in Interior Alaska, including 40 Tribal Governments, 26 village corporations, and 7 regional entities. We also surveyed the other 11 Alaska Native Regional Corporations (Regional ANCs) established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to find out about their business operations, dividends and charitable contributions in the Interior region.

Data was compiled and analyzed by our partner, Choice Econ, using the nationally recognized input-output model developed by the Minnesota IMPLAN Group

The Results

Native impact in interior Alaska, internal report brief (linked below), drafted and designed by Information Insights

Results were detailed in an internal report and highlighted in a brief using infographics to succinctly tell the story of Interior Alaska Native organizations’ economic impact.

The brief is succinct by design. It reflects an enormous amount of input and data, but is intended to be easily understood and utilized. Here is the overview of the data that informed the high-level take homes:

Major economic footprint takeaways include:

  • Statewide, Interior Alaska Native organizations have a total economic impact over $1 billion per year and directly employ 7,815 Alaskans.
  • In the Interior, Interior Alaska Native organizations
    • have a total economic impact of $600 million per year and employ 5,200 Alaskans.
    • drive a significant portion of the Interior economy, creating 1 in 9 jobs in the region. Outside the Fairbanks North Star Borough, they generate more than 1 in 3 rural jobs in the region.
  • In Fairbanks:
    • For every 100 jobs with Interior Alaska Native organizations in Fairbanks, another 70 jobs are created in the Borough.
    • For every $100 in employee wages, another $50 in wages is generated in the economy.
    • For every dollar Alaska Native organizations spend on goods and services in Fairbanks, another 80 cents in economic activity is generated.
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