JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's population declined for the first time in 29 years as the state's oil-driven recession continued through 2017.

State figures released on Wednesday listed the state's population at 737,080, the Juneau Empire reported . That's down 2,629 from 2016 and is the first decrease since 1988.

The number of people moving out was only partially balanced by the number of new births.

The state also had a record high in number of deaths this past year, at 4,530.

"The remarkable point is the net migration loss, and that caused a population loss between 2016 and 2017," state demographer Eddie Hunsinger said.

Population growth or decline is considered a significant indicator of a location's economic and social health.

Alaska lost 3,600 jobs between 2016 and 2017 and another 1,800 jobs are expected to be lost between 2017 and 2018, according to preliminary figures from the state Department of Labor.

A federal population estimate will be released in March, but the state's data is considered to be more accurate — although it has been off in the past.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com