January marks first time in 39 months Alaska gained jobs

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Following 39 months of job losses in Alaska, the state posted a job gain in January.

Preliminary estimates for January revealed the state was up about 500 jobs over the year which is a two percent increase.

While it is a very positive sign, State Labor Economist Karinne Wiebold, said on Action Line that it does not mean the state is out of the recession.  She explained that they will need to see three consecutive quarters of job growth before the recession can be deemed over.  

Wiebold did say that it is an early, positive sign.  She says no region of the state suffered a job loss in January.

Meanwhile, Wiebold said there were no job losses in January in any region of the state.  Jobs were up slightly in the Interior, Anchorage, and Southeast while others were flat, but none negative.

By industry, she says the biggest gain came in construction.  That's was attributed to the work underway to prepare for the deployment the F-35 aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base in the Interior and work following the large earthquake in the Anchorage area.

Economist Dan Robinson, who is the chief of the Research and Analysis Unit in the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said they might look back at the January figures a year from now and say, "That's when we turned the corner."

He added that the outcome of deliberations over the state budget will have a big impact on whether the state emerges from the recession.


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