Alaska Economic Trends Announces New Trends in Employment, Gender Wage-Gap
The May edition of Alaska Economic Trends takes a look at non-traditional employment for both genders. The magazine reports that female participation in construction actually went down 7% in the last 10 years and that the gender wage-gap still holds steady. Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Commissioner Heidi Drygas explains in the magazine that “Understanding our changing economy is important…Economic changes can have profound impacts on wages, aggregate demand, and the health of our statewide economy.”
The magazine reports that over the course of three years companies in Alaska—where women make 67 cents on the dollar compared to men—and the YWCA teamed up to reduce the gender pay gap. “This wage gap represents more than $1 billion in lost wages, and it is a missed opportunity to infuse money into our fragile economy,” says Drygas.
The magazine also reports that from 2004 to 2014 male-dominated occupations did not adjust to bring in more women, and women occupying male-oriented jobs actually dropped from 12% female in 2004 to 11% in 2014.
Alaska Economic Trends is a monthly publication issued to inform the public on the economic issues in the state of Alaska and is funded by the Employment and Training Services Division of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Full Council Votes ‘No’ on Seattle’s SODO Stadium
Efforts to bring the NBA back to Seattle fell short earlier this month when the City Council did not approve the conditional street vacation of Occidental Avenue South for the proposed arena project by a vote of 5-4. The five council members who voted ‘no’ happened to be all women.
The women who voted ‘no’ received a backlash from the community on radio shows and social media. “Seattle sexism is real and it has to stop,” says Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.
In a statement on the council’s website Bagshaw wrote, “After the SODO street vacation vote, the hail of hate mail began... some of the local sports fans...came unhinged. We five women who voted against the street vacation received hundreds of emails, tweets, voicemails and Facebook posts calling us [vulgar insults]. Some suggested we were uneducated on the topic and should leave such decisions to men. One writer told us he hoped we would soon put an end to our lives.”
Councilmember Kshama Sawant released the following statement to explain her vote: “Deciding how to vote on this item was not easy for me, and my staff and I have had to dig deeply on both sides to make up our minds.”
“This was not an easy vote to cast—I have heard from many people that I respect on both sides of the issue...The disappointment of my colleagues and that of the fans in the room was palpable. I too felt a pang of empathy for the people who have been engaged in a four years long campaign to bring back to Seattle a sport they love,” says Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
Herbold adds that “the Council majority actually represented the public’s interest” citing a poll that found 75% of registered voters didn’t think building a new arena was a priority for the city.
Seattle-Based Skanska Observes Construction Industry Safety Week
May 1 marked the beginning of the 12th annual Construction Industry Safety Week, a week dedicated to construction workers and their efforts to promote safety on the job. Seattle-based Skanska used the week to announce a new safety initiative.
A press release from the company announced the launch of its “Ladders Last” initiative at the firm’s U.S. job sites to encourage the company’s 11,000 employees to ditch ladders and choose alternatively safer ways to work from height. The CDC recently published a study proving that ladders are one of the leading causes of construction industry injuries and that falling is the top cause for fatal construction accidents.
“When we look at root causes of incidents, it’s alarming how often ladders are involved despite alternatives being available to the crew,” says Skanska USA Chief Environmental, Health and Safety Officer Paul Haining. “It goes beyond the project site as well, with thousands of injuries taking place at home. If we can change the way people approach ladders both at work and at home, we can make a dramatic difference in safety.”

For 2016’s Construction Industry Safety Week, Skanska’s U.S. job sites will discuss ladder use during daily Toolbox Talks and participate in site-specific activities such as training sessions and project demonstrations to help promote safety, communication, and camaraderie.