State economist says job losses are likely

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's state labor economist says 2009 is likely the year in which Anchorage's long run of job growth will come to an end.

Neal Fried said job growth has occurred every year for the past two decades, but this year looks different. Fried said he expects a loss of about 200 jobs.

The negative numbers are being blamed on the global recession and lower oil prices. That, in turn, will impact tourism, transportation, construction and the oil industry in the state, Fried said.

He said the 200 jobs is such a small amount that it would barely be discernible to most people in Anchorage. However, he said, there are some bright spots. Fried said there should be continued growth in health care, retail and government jobs.

The economic outlook looks more serious in the Lower 48. Some economists are predicting that there could be 2 million jobs lost this year.

As far as the local scene, some are more optimistic about the year than Fried. The Anchorage Economic Development Corp., a public-private group that encourages Outside business to locate in the city, is predicting a completely flat year for job growth in Anchorage.

Also, unlike the state's forecast, the AEDC's forecast doesn't foresee any decline in oil and gas industry jobs. "We're seeing a slight increase," said Bill Popp, president.

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