The number of people looking for work in Alaska has been steadily dropping since the Great Recession.
But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: unemployment.
The state unemployment rate sits at 4.6 per cent, down from 5.4 per cent a year ago.
In addition to the 4.4-per-cent drop, Alaska’s unemployment rate also rose slightly to 3.5 per cent.
It’s a bit of a double whammy for people who might be looking for a job, said Dan Kochel, chief economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
“They’ve also had a lot of job losses, particularly at the entry level,” he said.
“That’s a lot harder for people to find a job when you’ve got that big of a drop in unemployment.”
Kochel said Alaska is now one of the most vulnerable states in the country to a global economic downturn.
“Alaska’s still facing an unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent,” he told ABC Radio.
“It’s one of those states where it could be a whole lot worse if things continue to turn around, or worse if there’s some sort of recession.”
Alaska has had a long, slow recovery, and there are some positive signs that things are turning around.
There are some positives to look forward to, Koche said.
“We’re seeing that our GDP has grown by 1.7 percent since the start of 2017,” he added.
But he also noted the economic downturn is likely to have a big impact on jobs in the state, especially for people in the oil and gas industry.
“We’re going to be hard-pressed to make up for that without some kind of massive economic downturn,” Kochen said.
It would take a massive downturn, however, for Alaska to see a massive drop in joblessness, he said, adding that if the downturn lasts longer, it could “make a huge difference”.
“If it lasts longer than three to four months, we’re going into a recession,” he warned.
“If that’s the case, we could be in for a long recession.”ABC/wires