Dept. of Numbers: Job losses persist, people moving south - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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Dept. of Numbers: Job losses persist, people moving south

Thirty-nine months is a long time for a state to have a job losing streak.

Alaska is creeping up on the Big 4-0 loss streak, and already has set a new record for the longest string of job losses since the economy nosedived in the late 1980s.

The cumulative number of jobs that vanished during the present recession is 12,700, putting the job count back to 2011 levels, according to the Alaska Department of Labor. Alaska has been losing jobs since October, 2015.

As go jobs trends, so go the workers. Since 2013, more people have left Alaska than have moved here. While births made up for some of the outmigration, the cumulative net migration loss was 35,000, larger than the city of Juneau.

Anchorage shed 6,084 jobs between 2015 and 2018, a drop of 3.9 percent. The majority of those jobs were professional class jobs,  including attorneys, engineers, and architects.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough bucked the employment trend, and actually grew jobs between 2015 and 2018, adding 769 workers, according to the State Department of Labor. But those jobs were largely in health care and social services, not in the private for-profit sector. The Mat-Su Borough added 10,000 residents from 2015 to 2018.

Alaska’s overall unemployment rate in December was steady at 6.3 percent, or about 22,390 Alaskans unemployed, while the overall unemployment rate in the United States was 3.9 percent.

[Read all about it at this month’s Alaska Trends magazine, from the Alaska Department of Labor.]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Well, next fall let’s throw out 300 ferry worker families, several hundred educator families, untold number of families associated with the university system, and see how we look. Oh, and I forgot the families of workers in health care and Pioneer Homes. Will that be the long term sustainable growth on which he campaigned?

    • You make it sound like the budget has moved from “proposed” to final and all is lost…

  • hey don’t forget folks that live in rural areas, north slope borough, valdez, and fairbanks-eh heck the new budget is so good at being bad the population of the whole state will shrink

    more moose for me though
    and a larger PFD
    and never forget-its all about me
    am the only one that matters?

  • 3 words: North Dakota Fracking.

    • Oh sure. Someone I used to work with years ago told me he went to ND to capitalize on the “gold rush” and found out that others had long beat him to the punch. For example, he mentioned that on his first day there, he paid $9 for a latte the size of his pinky. I remember a certain then-representative and now-senator in Fairbanks telling me that local folks had had it too good for too long, not long after I had found myself making a third of what I made the year before while the cost of living went up 50 percent during the same period. That cost of living situation hasn’t really changed and I’m no longer there. Coincidence?

  • There some that would like to see the population continue going down. And with the cuts that is very likely to happen. It’s very tough on those who lose their jobs and I feel for them. But imo govt spending has gotten out of hand. And it might be, in part, because Alaskans have had very little skin in the game, and because their legislator’s work is done in a city that is almost totally inaccessible to the average person. It has been a very interesting ride and it is not over. With nearly 65 Billion in the bank Alaska can hardly claim poverty or fear that the sky is falling. In the meantime it is refreshing to see a politician trying to keep the promises on which he campaigned.

    • Pretty tired argument there AF.
      Want to try and back-up that statement about govt spending getting out of hand: “because their legislator’s work is done in a city that is almost totally inaccessible to the average person.”

  • Cool! With the Dunleavy admin, I’m looking forward to even better garage sales than in the 80’s! Bring it on, bring ‘er down I say. Slash, burn and go oingo-boingo. All I know is I’ll still be here weather we’re a banana state or not. Really, this is getting to be almost giddy. Remember Loony Tunes? “That’s All Folks!” These people haven’t a clue. But when they get throttled they will claim best intents and then blame their failure on not sticking with the plan. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

  • Lets face it, the majority of the people complaining have no intentions of retiring and living here permanently. They just want to get as much as they can at any cost to the state and people living here both current and future..

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