JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska had 24,100 fewer jobs in December than a year earlier amid ongoing economic repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state labor department reported Friday.
Karinne Wiebold, a department economist, said there aren’t many bright spots to glean from the December jobs report.
“One possible glimmer is that we think oil and gas employment has bottomed out, so while the year over year losses are still steep, it should not get much worse,” she said by email.
That sector reported about 6,800 jobs in both November and December, but the department said there’s no sign yet of a “bounce.” Oil and gas employment stood around 10,000 in December 2019, the department said.
Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest losses, with much of the December drop attributed to bar and restaurant restrictions in Anchorage aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, the department said. The sector had 8,600 fewer jobs than in December 2019, according to the labor department report.
State government gained 500 jobs in December, compared to a year earlier, primarily due to pandemic-related hires, such as contact tracers and additional staff to help process unemployment insurance claims, the department said.