After years of loss, state economists forecast modest job growth in 2019

UAA economist Dr. Mouhcine Guettabi. (Photo: UAA)

After more than three years of recession, things may be turning around for Alaska’s economy. Since the recession started, the state has lost more than 12,000 jobs. But in 2018, the rate of job loss slowed. And in 2019, state economists think Alaska could finally start gaining a modest amount of jobs.

The state Department of Labor is forecasting 0.4 percent job growth in 2019, about 1,400 new jobs. Mouhcine Guettabi, an economist with the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, also thinks the state will see modest job growth.

Interview Highlights: 

2019 Forecast: For 2019, I think that we’re going to turn the corner. Doesn’t mean that we’re going to be experiencing very fast growth by any stretch. I’m looking at somewhere close to 0.5 percent employment growth. Which means roughly 1,500 jobs that will be gained statewide.

Things could change: There are multiple assumptions that are being made about the forecast. I’m assuming $60 oil prices. I’m assuming no significant cuts at the budget level.

Summary: The recession has gotten long in the tooth. It’s 39 months as of October. So I think that we’ve lost all the jobs that we’re going to lose. I think we turn the corner in 2019. The forecast hinges on really important assumptions and then there is the wildcard of the economy as well.

Mouhcine Guettabi, an economist with the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.