The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation released two reports on Friday outlining good news for unemployment and consumer optimism index in Anchorage.
"Anchorage consumers are the most optimistic they have been in quite some time," Bill Popp, AEDC President & CEO, said.
The Anchorage Optimism Index is based on data collected by a random quarterly sample of at least 350 households located in the Municipality of Anchorage.
Participants were asked about local economy confidence, personal financial confidence and expectations for the future.
The index is expressed from a 0-100 scale. Anything above 50 represents relative confidence in the economy while numbers under 50 indicate a lack of confidence.
From Quarter 3 to Quarter 4 in 2012, the index fell slightly from 57 to 57.6.
But the report indicates while Q4 was the lowest out of any in 2012, all numbers from all quarters were still higher than in 2011.
Anchorage residents appeared to have the same feelings reflected in the confidence index report.
Mike Vechter, a marine biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, says he's lived in Anchorage for 15 years and appreciates the economy.
"I love living here in Anchorage - as far as the economy goes, we're doing really good," Vechter said.
Students, who are juggling jobs with full-time studies, also say they like what they see in terms of the economy.
Melania DeLucia, a barista for Dark Horse Coffee, says she's been fortunate in her one-year living in Anchorage.
"The economy's been pretty good to me in Alaska," DeLucia said. "It's a land of opportunities for lots of different people, so I'm very lucky and blessed to be living here."
Employment numbers showed improvement in 2013 as well.
Job growth nearly doubled this year, increasing from 1,800 new jobs in 2012 to 3,300 new jobs in 2013.
According to the Popp, business and professional service increased by more than 1,000 jobs in 2012, oil and gas jobs were up more than 650 jobs, health care grew by 750 jobs.
"For the first time since 2006, we saw 350 new jobs the first full year of job growth," Popp said.
The February employment report showed unemployment numbers down to 5.2 percent.
"We're looking at unemployment actually dropping below 5 percent for pretty much the rest of the year and into the distant future," Popp said.
Popp says unemployment looks good in comparison to the national unemployment average, which is 7.6 percent.
But he says while the national average is declining, it's not necessarily all good news.
"That's because a lot of people are giving up looking for jobs ...there are some times a declining unemployment rate is not a good thing for your economy," Popp said.
Popp says our job numbers are growing and we're seeing solid sustaining numbers in the size of our work force.
"It's harder for employers to find the workers that they need, people with the high skill sets," Popp said.
He said overall, the forecast for 2013 looks good and with people's confidence, it could just be the greatest place to work, live and play.