Business/Economy

Alaska job numbers are recovering, but economists predict they won’t rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2022

Midtown

Job numbers in Alaska in 2022 will continue to fall short of pre-pandemic levels, though certain industries will shine, according to an annual forecast released by state economists.

Alaska lost 27,600 jobs in 2020 as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic hurt many businesses, according to the January edition of Alaska Economic Trends, a publication put out by the state labor department.

The state should recover 9,800 jobs this year, adding to last year’s gains. But the number of jobs will still fall short of 2019 levels by close to 11,000, according to the report.

Statewide, the 2022 Alaska job count will reach almost 320,000 jobs, the report predicts.

[A record 4.5 million US workers quit or changed jobs in November]

“Only construction, health care, and federal employment are forecasted to end 2022 at or above their pre-COVID levels,” says the report, written by Karinne Wiebold, an economist with the state.

Bright spots that could see solid job growth in 2022 are tourism, as more cruise ships return to Alaska this year, and transportation, driven in part by soaring cargo traffic at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the report says.

Jobs in leisure and hospitality also should see strong growth, by about 4,000 jobs or 13.5%.

The jobs recovery in the oil industry will remain weak compared to other sectors, the report says. The industry is expected to add 400 jobs, thanks in part to higher oil prices. But it will remain 2,800 jobs below where it was pre-pandemic, down close to 30%.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com.

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