ANCHORAGE -

Some market watchers are predicting this year's dividend to double from last year, and they're saying it may go even higher than that.

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation's president and CEO Bill Popp made that announcement today, as he was unveiling their 3-year economic outlook at the AEDC luncheon.

"We've got several folks, they aren't willing to say this in public so I'll say it for them anonymously, who are predicting permanent funds in the coming years that could peak $2500, $3000."

That's good news for Anchorage's retail industry, which is already proving to be an economic powerhouse in recent years. The sector gained almost 1000 jobs in 2013, and has seen modest increases this year, after almost a decade of flat growth.

"We all remember when we had the 2100 dollar permanent fund, and the 1200 dollar energy rebate at the same time, and the mile long traffic jam in all directions at Dimond and Old Seward in front of Best Buy," Popp said at Wednesday's meeting.

The PFD is calculated based on earnings from investments over a 5-year period. The fund took a hit in 2009 with the recession, and that year has been dropping dividend amounts ever since. But now, it's no longer part of the equation.

"Phenomenal portfolio performance has been the key driver in that, and 2009 is just a bad memory now."

The final amount of the 2014 PFD will be announced in September.