Graph showing monthly changes in employment from 2019 to 2022, by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development using data from their Research and Analysis Section. (Screenshot)

Graph showing monthly changes in employment from 2019 to 2022, by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development using data from their Research and Analysis Section. (Screenshot)

Jobs up in 2022, fall short of predictions

The department predicted that 9,800 jobs would be added in 2022, overshooting the real numbers by 53%

The State of Alaska added 6,400 jobs between December 2021 and 2022, a Friday press release from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said. That marks an increase of 2.1% year over year.

In January 2022’s issue of “Alaska Economic Trends,” the department predicted that 9,800 jobs would be added in 2022, overshooting the real numbers by 53%. In 2021, the state recovered 7,000 jobs.

The vast majority of jobs were added in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna region, which reported 4,100 added, more than the rest of the state combined. In the Gulf Coast Region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kodiak and the Chugach Census Area, 600 jobs were added, a distant second to Anchorage.

According to the press release, as of the start of this year, Alaska still has 4,900 fewer jobs than it did in December 2019, ahead of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest job gains by industry were in leisure/hospitality and transportation, where both added more than 1,800. Local government, specifically public education, added 800.

The only industries reported to have lost jobs year over year were the state government, which lost 600, and manufacturing, which lost 300. The release noted that because numbers are compiled in December, and many manufacturing jobs are in seasonal seafood processing, the manufacturing losses may not be as significant as they seem.

Statewide employment has consistently inflated by around 40,000 jobs in the summer months of 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Data included with the press release show that the unemployment rate in Alaska has fallen to its lowest point in the last 10 years, even lower than pre-COVID numbers, but still sits higher than the national average. As of the end of 2022, the unemployment rate is just above 4%. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, unemployment is higher than the state average and the national average, at 5.2%.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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