Peninsula employment down 2.4%

Peninsula employment down 2.4%

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Brandii Holmdahl also has a background in the sportfishing industry.

The Kenai Peninsula has seen a steeper drop in jobs than the state in general between the first two quarters of 2015 and 2016.

In the period from January through June 2016, the peninsula had 965 fewer jobs than in the same time period of 2015, about a 2.4 percent. The only industries on the peninsula that has more jobs in 2016 than 2015 are the information industry — which gained exactly one job — the financial industry, leisure and hospitality, unclassified establishments and local government, according to numbers provided to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District.

Most of the job losses came out of private industry, which has 1,027 fewer jobs in the first six months of 2016 than in 2015. Oil and gas saw the sharpest cuts — more than half of the 670 jobs directly in oil and gas extraction in 2015 were lost by the first two quarters of 2016.

The downturn in oil and gas prices worldwide has driven companies to downsize operations or withdraw. Apache Corporation withdrew from Alaska in early 2016, and ConocoPhillips is in the early stages of marketing its Nikiski LNG facility for sale. The downturn in oil and gas has impacts outside just the mining industry as well, putting pressure on oilfield support businesses. For example, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation plans to close its Nikiski fabrication facility by the end of the year in response to low oil prices, taking approximately 40 jobs out of the sector on the peninsula.

Tim Dillon, the executive director of KPEDD, presented the numbers to the borough assembly at its Tuesday meeting in response to discussions about a state recession. He warned that some of the numbers may look low because it does not include the boom in employment during the summer months on the peninsula.

“It does not take into consideration fishing and tourism,” he said. “You wouldn’t see that bump until you saw the third and fourth quarters.”

The peninsula’s numbers are significantly worse than the statewide numbers. In the first six months of 2016, the state had 1.6 percent fewer jobs, the greatest drop since the late 1980s recession, according to a Dec. 2 report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Employment losses accelerated as well, from a 1.2 percent loss in January to a 2.5 percent decline in June, according to the report. Private sector employment losses on the Kenai Peninsula were a little less than double the statewide average of 1.9 percent, coming in at a 3.4 percent loss, according to the numbers provided by KPEDD.

Across the state, local government employment was up about .4 percent, mostly due to school district increases, according to the Department of Labor’s report. However, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has recently been trimming employment and has about 11 fewer full-time equivalent positions this year as compared to last year, according to an update from Superintendent Sean Dusek to the borough assembly on Tuesday.

The increase in the local government numbers for the Kenai Peninsula can be attributed to Central Peninsula Hospital and South Peninsula Hospital, both of which are borough-owned, Dillon said in an interview. Though the hospitals are both operated by nonprofit boards, their employment numbers were included in the local government numbers because they are still public hospitals.

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District provides support for businesses on the peninsula through research, advice and can provide small loans. Dillon said employers on the peninsula are working on processing the economic situation the state is faced with.

“At this stage, I think people are just trying to digest things,” he said. “They been hearing this is where we’re headed, so what do we do?”

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is preparing to host its annual Industry Outlook Forum next month on Jan. 11, in which employers, government officials and entrepreneurs will speak on the economic outlook for the coming year. One of the major changes is that the typically two-day event will be condensed into a single day this year. Dillon said the organization chose to shorten the event to one day to make sure people could find time to come.

“One of the big things that I heard last year was, ‘I can give you one day but I can’t give you two days,’” he said. “We’re in different economic times right now, and if you want those key people to not only go ahead and make the presentations but also be in the audience, you have to make those adjustments.”

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre will provide an update on the borough, and a panel of members from the Alaska Department of Labor, Kenai Peninsula College, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, the Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy and Alaska’s Institute of Technology in Seward will provide a workforce outlook. Alaska Travel Industry Association President and CEO Sarah Leonard and Shanon Davis of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council will provide a tourism industry update, Kenai Peninsula Borough Healthcare Task Force chairman Rick Ross will provide a health care industry peninsula-wide update and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Brandii Holmdahl, who also works for seafood processor Icicle Seafoods and has family who works in the sportfishing industry, will provide a fishing industry update. Other speakers include the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s Wellness Director Deborah Nyquist, Alaska Miners Association Executive Director Deantha Crockett, Alaska oil and Gas Association President and COO Kara Moriarty, and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell as well as three local Kenai Peninsula entrepreneurs throughout the day.

Dillon said he felt confident in the diversity of the speaker lineup this year.

“This way, we can get a better feel for what’s going on statewide,” he said.

Those wishing to attend can register on


Elizabeth Earl can be reached at

Peninsula employment down 2.4%

More in News

Trees with fall colors populate the Shqui Tsatnu Creek gully as seen from Fourth Avenue on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to use $770k in grants to remove hazard trees along Shqui Tsatnu Creek

The money will be used to mitigate hazards caused by dead and dying spruce trees over more than 100 acres of city land

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Alaska judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge Jack McKenna on Thursday ordered elections officials to delay certifying the result of that particular race

An image purportedly from the computer screen of a digital media specialist for Gov. Mike Dunleavy shows numerous files and folders of campaign advertising. A complaint filed against the governor, plus other individuals and organizations, claims administrative staff is illegally doing paid campaign work on behalf of the governor. (Screenshot from complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission)
Dunleavy faces more accusations in campaign complaint

Governor calls it “specious and unfounded.”

A recent photo of Anesha "Duffy" Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
A 2019 photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, who went missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
Calderwood indicted for murder

Indictment charges man accused of killing Anesha “Duffy” Murnane with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council gives Triumvirate more time to build theater

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart

Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Senior Center makes plans for $715,000 endowment

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
On Thursday morning at what police described as an active crime scene, JPD Officer Austin Thomas and Officer Taylor Davis walk the fielded area which was blocked off by crime scene tape. Multiple tents and a police vehicle sat in the field where the tape surrounded, another police vehicle sat in a dirt parking area.
No arrests made as Juneau death investigation continues

Shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday that a woman’s body was found

Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

About 21,000 people living along a 1,000-mile stretch of Alaska’s western coast were affected by the storm

Camille Broussard testifies in support of an advisory planning commission in Nikiski during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves advisory planning commission for Nikiski

The commission area as petitioned and approved covers just over 3.5 million acres

Most Read