Job losses in Alaska accelerated in the year's first six months as low oil prices kept slamming the economy, with the downturn spreading from the oil and gas and construction sectors to hurt restaurants, bars and stores, according to a detailed view of the jobs picture released by state economists on [December 2]. "I about cried when I first saw the data — it was shocking," said Caroline Schultz, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development ... She described Alaska's current economic state as a "recession." Employment fell 1.6 percent or 5,530 actual jobs during the period, compared to the same stretch in 2015. The job losses affected most sectors of the economy and rose from a 1.2 percent drop in January to a 2.5 percent decline in June.
In a new report on the state's jobs outlook for 2017, the Alaska Department of Labor warns of even larger job losses than during 2016. The report is worth reading; it would be good to see an executive-branch report of the same kind here in Wyoming, in addition to the quarterly state-revenue forecasts we get from CREG.
Before we get to the Wyoming jobs situation, let us take a look at the depression unfolding in Alaska. Figure 1 reports monthly job losses in the private sector, split between the minerals industry (grey) and non-minerals industries (black):