Alaska job growth expected to be slow but positive in 2020

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) According to State Department of Labor and Workforce Development Economist Neal Fried, Anchorage and Alaska are both out of the recession. The state saw slight job growth in 2019, and Fried predicts something similar for 2020.

“Employment grew by about .4% or so in 2019, and we expect it to grow again in 2020 by about 0.3%,” Fried said.

He predicts industries like healthcare, construction, and hospitality see slight increases in 2020, but not every industry has a positive outlook.

“What we think is gonna happen in 2020 is there are going to be enough small gains from different industries to be slightly larger than those industries that have losses," he said.

State government, education, and especially retail are expected to see drops, but everything only slightly.

“When we look at our total payroll workforce here in Anchorage, it's about 157,000, so 300 here, 500, there, we're really talking about very small numbers," Fried said.

And while Anchorage and Alaska have similar patterns, Fried expects one industry to do better outside the city than in.

“We think oil and gas employment will grow statewide, but we, I'm actually forecasting oil and gas employment to fall slightly in Anchorage," he said.

The suspected cause, Hilcorp's buyout of BP assets. Roughly half of bp's 1500 alaska employees were offered Hilcorp jobs, and Fried expects the majority of cut positions to be in Anchorage.

“This is a headquarter city where both headquarters are, and we think that the net losses that occur as a result of that are going to be more in the headquarter city, and not, for example, on the North Slope," he said.

Of course the final employment numbers can only be worked out once the year is up, so for now, these predictions will have to do the job.

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