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Alaska Department of Labor Releases State Economic Trends Report

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development published a new report that outlines the trends in almost 200 industries and occupations in Alaska. 

The report called “Alaska Economic Trends” was released earlier this month.  It states that Alaska is projected to gain over 36,000 jobs between 2012 and 2022.  Economist with the Alaska Department of Labor Paul Martz says the ten year report comes out every two years.

“So the next one will be on 2016 and it will be from 2014 to 2024.”

The report looked at two industries in particular; health care and mining.  Alaska’s population is expected to grow ten percent between 2012 and 2022.  In that time span, Alaskans aged 65 and older will increase 79 percent. Martz says that increase in older Alaskans is the main reason behind the potential rise in health care jobs.

“You know, that’s going to drive a lot of demand for health care. Not necessarily hospital settings but in home care and things like that which gets more into the personal care services.”

The report states hospital employment is estimated to grow 20 percent.  Ambulatory health care, such as physician’s offices, outpatient care centers and home health care services, are expected to grow by 28.5 percent. 

As far as mining goes, Martz makes it clear that it does not include oil and gas-- just mineral mining.  It’s projected to increase by 24.8 percent from 2012 to 2022. 

“A lot of that has to do with, so we use statistical procedures to exploit relationships with the past data and we also use predictor variables that go along. So things like price and mineral production, so we take the historic values and sort of mine notes for the relationships and then use that to project forward. So we’ve seen pretty high mineral prices over the past few years and we expect that, it obviously spiked up and it’s going to level off but that’s still higher.”

Metal ore mining jobs more than doubled from 2001 to 2013.  The report states an upward trend to continue with growth in existing mines and the continuation of work toward prospective mines. 

However, the report looked at 187 other industries. 

“These in the table and the article are sector level, there are a lot of industries within these. Within support activities for mining we have drilling oil and gas wells, that’s a separate industry. They’re all rolled up in these broad categories.”

Martz says there have been decreases in employment in federal and local government jobs.  The federal government eliminated jobs in Alaska since 2011, with a decrease of 588 in 2012 and an additional loss of 833 in 2013.  The report says the slow growth in government jobs is due to reduced federal funding which will be compounded by budgets being cut at the state and local level.