By: Scott Goldsmith
Final 2015 employment data reported by the Alaska Department of Labor shows a clear trend of growth slowing over the year and turning negative in the last quarter. Even though the overall growth rate of employment for the year was .4 percent, by the end of 2015 employment was 2 thousand below the year before.
The decline in employment was most evident in the oil and gas sector which, by the end of 2015, was 2.1 thousand below December 2014.
Employment was less than a year earlier by the end of 2015 in both the public and private sectors, and in all parts of the state except the Mat-Su Borough where there were 500 more jobs in December 2015 compared to a year earlier.
Preliminary data for the first 4 months of 2016 shows the decline continuing. In April reported employment dropped below the same month in 2014.