ANCHORAGE (KTUU) -
(App users, to view the interactive data visualization, follow this link).
Data is sourced from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (AKDOLWD) and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Statewide economists with AKDOLWD calculated monthly employment statistics, from 1990 to 2017, using historical trends and current data from a sample of employers. Total nonfarm employment data excludes self-employed workers, fishers, domestics and unpaid family workers.
AKDOLWD and BLS worked jointly to produce a regional report for the Anchorage/Mat-Su area. Because revisions for Q4 2016 through 2017 are not yet complete, this region's preliminary estimates are excluded from the visualization. After the numbers are revised by late-March, expect an update to this data visualization.
In addition, employment numbers may not sum due to rounding. Annual Averages are rounded to the nearest 10th place.
Both statewide and in most regions, annual employment tends to fluctuate between the winter and summer months. However, the one exception is the Northern Region.
"The Northern Region is heavy on oil and gas and government – particularly local government – employment, neither of which is particularly seasonal," explains Karinne Wiebold, an economist with AKDOLWD. "The Northern Region has less of the state's more seasonally volatile industries, such as tourism, construction and fishing."
But even though this region enjoys relative year-round employment stability, the recession has been especially unkind to it.
While the recession is expected to moderate into 2018, Alaska job loss was deepest in the oil and gas industry.
"When oil prices plummeted in late 2014, state government was the first to feel the pinch as falling tax revenue from the oil and gas industry decimated state revenues," explains an Alaska Economics Trends report. And while the oil and gas industry was able to maintain high employment throughout most of 2015, the report shows a plunging job decline of 20.4 percent in 2016.
By 2017, AKDOLWD reports that the state reduced demand for oil and gas services, which in turn led to a "smaller loss of jobs." In September 2017, employment at Prudhoe Bay hit a 10-year low as reports indicate it fell by 4,600.
Until Alaska's oil and gas industry recovers, annual employment averages indicate that the Northern Region can expect a steady decrease in employment year-round.
Northern Region annual employment average by year:
• 2014: 22,660
• 2015: 23,160
• 2016: 20,760
• Preliminary Estimates for 2017: 18,880
To see how annual employment in the Northern Region compares to the rest of Alaska, check out the interactive data visualization above.