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Seafood industry hires boost Alaska seasonal employment

Posted: May 5, 2013 - 12:08am

ANCHORAGE — Seasonal employment is heating up in Alaska as the seafood industry takes on thousands of temporary workers.

Employment is thriving in many industries, but seasonal jobs are the top ticket right now, said state economist Neal Fried. Seasonal jobs generally grow from 3,000 in December to more than 20,000 during their peak in July or August each year, he said.

“Seafood is sort of the epitome of those seasonal jobs,” Fried told KTUU-TV. “There are fishing and seafood processing jobs all year long in Alaska, but there are way more in the summer time than any other time in the year.”

Seafood industry jobs aren’t limited to fishermen plying the seas, experts say. There are thousands of jobs working in processing facilities, including processing, cleaning laundry and housekeeping, said Melody Dosier, a seafood employment specialist at the Alaska Job Center in midtown Anchorage.

That often catches people by surprise when they come from far away looking for a seafood job, Dosier said.

“We get a lot of people from the Lower 48 and they actually think they’re going fishing, but they’re not,”

Melody Dosier, a seafood employment specialist at the Alaska Job Center in midtown Anchorage, says temporary jobs in the seafood industry don’t just mean fishing, and many people come from the Lower 48 with misconceptions about what it means to work in the seafood industry.

Even though they’re temporary, a seasonal job in the seafood industry can be a springboard to other jobs beyond the peak summer season, Dosier said.

The most recent unemployment figures showed Alaska’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March, compared with a national jobless rate of 7.6 percent that month.

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