By Scott Goldsmith:
The Alaska economy contracted at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2016 according to the final count by the Alaska Department of Labor. Employment was 4.5 thousand lower in the first quarter than the previous year. Growth slowed through early 2015 and turned negative in the second half of the year.
The drop was most pronounced in four sectors. Petroleum was down 13 percent, a loss of 1.9 thousand jobs. Business services declined 4.4 percent, a loss of 1.3 thousand jobs. Construction declined 9 percent, also losing 1.3 thousand jobs. State government was down 5 percent, also losing 1.3 thousand jobs.
Health care reported a growth rate of 2.3 percent, adding 1 thousand jobs. Local government also increased .6 percent, or 250 jobs. Other sectors were little changed from a year earlier.
All regions of the state shared in the loss of jobs. The largest regional economy—Anchorage/Matsu—contracted at a .8 percent rate (1.5 thousand jobs) while employment in the rest of the state fell by 1.9 percent (3 thousand jobs).