Number of jobs in Prudhoe Bay region drops to decade low
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The number of jobs in the Prudhoe Bay region dropped this year to the lowest levels since 2007, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The region had a record 13,485 jobs in March 2015, but lost a third of those after oil prices plummeted, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Wednesday.
Oil prices have gone up recently, but state economist Neal Fried said it’s hard to predict whether the increase in prices will restore jobs.
“We’re not quite sure whether those numbers are beginning to flatten out or not,” Fried said. “We can’t answer that question.”
Fried said sectors such as fisheries, tourism and the military could help add jobs to the region — even if the oil industry doesn’t start adding jobs again.
“It’s not going to take a recovery in the oil sector to necessarily cause the recession to come to an end,” Fried said. “There could be other industries that even are just growing marginally.”
Fried estimated that in the first half of this year, more than 2,000 people lost their jobs in Alaska’s oil sector. Fried introduced the data at a recent Resource Development Council conference in Anchorage.