Nine companies join list of state's biggest employers

Blaire Maloney

A few new businesses made their way into this year's list of "Alaska's Top 100 Largest Private Employers."

The list, published by the Department of Labor in the July edition of its Alaska Economic Trends, covers Alaska's largest private- sector employers in 2009. Government employers were not included; several of them -- the military, federal civilian agencies, the state and the city of Anchorage -- employ far more people than any single company.

The new nine include: Royal Highway Tours, Target, ERA Aviation, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Pogo Mine, Frontier Community Services, C Care Services, Subway and Access Alaska

"The variety of these newcomers -- from tourism to hard rock mining to retail -- is a good sign for Alaska's economy," said state Labor Commissioner Click Bishop in Trends.

This year's Top 100 had a combined payroll of $4.2 billion last year. Seven employers had a payroll of $10 million or more, according to the article.

These 100 firms make up one-third of all private-sector wages and salaries statewide.

The Top 10 employers have not changed since 2008.

Providence Health & Services has remained No. 1 on the list since 2001 and is the only private-sector business with more than 4,000 employees.

Walmart/Sam's Club follows at No. 2 with more than 3,000 employees, and the Carrs/Safeway grocery chain is No. 3 with just under 3,000 employees.

Nearly one-fourth of the Top 100 employers are nonprofits.

The top three nonprofits are: Providence, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and Banner Health Systems, which runs a hospital in Fairbanks.

Alaska's oil industry has left its mark on the list as well.

Almost all oil employers made it onto the Top 100 list, the department said. The top three oil employers include: ASRC Energy Services, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and CH2M Hill.

The department noted that 16 of the 100 largest private employers are Native nonprofit organizations or subsidiaries of Native corporations. Because of the way the information is compiled, the full employment of some Native corporations with all of their subsidiaries combined was not listed, the department said. For example, No. 5 ASRC is a subsidiary of a Native regional corporation that employs workers at other subsidiaries.

When the public sector is included, the list changes drastically. The military, No. 1 in the public-sector, employed 23,077 people last year.

The next largest public employers include: the state of Alaska, federal civilians, the University of Alaska and the Anchorage School District.

Alaska's largest private employers Health care businesses, retailers and oil companies continued to dominate the list of the top non-government employers in the state last year.