Economic Sectors

As Alaska’s economy matures, Northern Economics has helped governments and private businesses in Alaska achieve their goals—both in traditional resource-based industries such as fisheries and mining and in newer arenas such as tourism. As we have expanded our services into the Pacific Northwest and beyond, we have continued our commitment to unbiased analysis to achieve our ultimate goal: helping society to make better decisions.


Fisheries, Marine and Nearshore
Northern Economics is a national leader in fisheries economics. We specialize in the economic and socioeconomic changes associated with fisheries management decisions, including linking management decisions to community- and user group-level effects. Our economists have been directly involved in more than thirty projects and reports used by the Pacific and North Pacific Fishery Management Councils to assess the impact of regulatory change. We have applied the knowledge gained in these projects in many other fisheries-related projects for federal and state government clients, including NOAA Fisheries offices throughout the United States, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

We also use our expertise to assist private clients as well as community, regional, Alaska Native and tribal economic development associations. Our in-depth knowledge of fisheries makes us uniquely qualified to help clients assess fisheries markets and help communities assess the potential of marine infrastructure and fishing industry development projects.

Utilities, Energy, Oil and Gas, and Mining
Northern Economics’ consultants are Alaska’s oil and gas economics experts. Over the past 25 years, our staff has developed a first-hand understanding of every aspect of the industry through studies of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline infrastructure, onshore and off-shore oil and gas exploration, development, and production, petroleum industry manpower needs and NEPA analyses for proposed projects. We have developed proprietary models of onshore and offshore oil and gas activities in Alaska that we employ in our work for industry and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. We have earned Alaskans’ trust in this industry as we have conducted the economic and socioeconomic analyses for most of the proposed gas pipeline projects for the past fifteen years.

As changes in energy prices and changes in environmental regulation create new challenges for utilities and remote communities, Northern Economics can provide the analyses to enable communities, companies, and individuals to adapt.

Transportation and Infrastructure
Northern Economics’ location in America’s “Last Frontier” has allowed us the unusual opportunity to participate in the development of much of the state’s transportation infrastructure. Alaska is unique in the nation in the vastness of the state, and the number of remote communities that remain off the road system and accessible only by air and water. The state’s size and isolation have also meant that its transportation infrastructure projects have often required innovative solutions that are not found in traditional transportation economic models. An area of expertise for the company is forecasting traffic volumes for new roads or highways where no surface connection presently exists. Our ability to merge innovation with proven methods has made us a leader in transportation economics in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Roads and Bridges
Northern Economics has experience evaluating the social and economic effects of proposed road and bridge projects around Alaska. Whether studying the economics of industry-based roads for resource extraction, the socioeconomic impacts of roads and bridges to link communities and infrastructure, or the benefits and costs of paving gravel roads, we offer expertise and experience with transportation economics to inform decision makers of the relevant issues.

With much of Alaska off the road system and dependent on air travel, airports and related facilities are a vital component of our community infrastructure. We have the skills and experience to evaluate the financial and economic feasibility of airports around the state, update master plans for existing airports, and assist decision makers in selecting viable alternatives for access to communities and natural resources.

Ports and Harbors
Northern Economics has extensive experience in waterfront and harbor development planning and has played a pivotal role in the expansion of many port facilities. We investigate demand, feasibility, and access issues for small boat harbors, vessel haul-out and maintenance facilities, cruise ship terminals, general cargo docks, bulk materials terminals, and fuel terminals. The scale of these projects has ranged from large deep-draft ports at Anchorage and Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to barge landings in Kuskokwim and Yukon River communities. Our knowledge of the fishing industry in Alaska, the nation, and the Pacific Rim, our longstanding engagement in port development, and work over the years for the Alaska Marine Highway System also contribute to our knowledge of the marine shipping industry where we often prepare forecasts of vessel traffic for new industrial or port development.

Visitor Industry and Tourism
While many Northern Economics studies have included a visitor market component, we are increasingly involved in projects with tourism development as a primary focus. Our team has the ability to design surveys that gather the information needed to understand the latest trends in the visitor industry. Our economists have the experience and skills needed to relate those trends to the larger economic dynamics to make your visitor venture a success. Projects range from conducting statewide studies of this growing economic sector to assisting particular visitor facilities that are exploring options for expansion.