Alaska projected to see 5.5% job growth over 10 years, with a 10.3% growth rate in health care industry

Alaska can expect to add 18,000 jobs (5.5% growth) from 2018 to 2028, according to the latest volume of Alaska Economic Trends Magazine from the Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development. The new projections look to the economy’s past performance to determine the future outlook, but also take into account the likely effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s most vulnerable industries – including transportation, leisure and hospitality, and retail.


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In terms of number of jobs, the health care/social assistance industry is expected to lead the state in job growth. From 2018-2028 the magazine estimates an additional 5,049 jobs in this field. The next highest industry is accommodation and food services (+ 3,286); professional, scientific, and technical services (+ 2,047); and mining, including oil and gas (+1,690).

Conversely, local government is expected to lose 651 jobs, educational services will lose 572 jobs, and state government is projected to lose 494 jobs during this 10-year time period.

An evaluation of percent growth reflects a different, though similar, outlook. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting is expected to see a 37.2% growth in jobs. This, reads the report, will be driven by growth in the marijuana industry. Job growth in health care and social assistance is expected to increase 10.3%.


Image: Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development, Economic Trends


The health care industry has grown in Alaska for decades, but recently slowed down as the state caught up with national health care capacity.

“While this is a change in this sector’s trajectory, we still project strong growth through 2028 with the addition of 5,049 jobs. That would be a growth rate of 10.3 percent, which is almost twice the projected rate for the economy as a whole. Aging and overall population growth will keep increasing demand, and continued expansion into rural hubs could boost these numbers further,” reads the report.

While the COVID pandemic is expected to result in health care job losses in the short term, the Department says that the industry is expected to rebound quickly.

Of the over 5,000 new jobs expected in the health care and social assistance industry, the Department projects nearly 2,000 will be related to ambulatory health care services and about 1,000 related to hospital jobs.

In terms of individual jobs, home health aides and nursing assistants are projected to add 427 jobs by 2028. The Department expects 1,294 new health care practitioner jobs including 404 new registered nursing jobs.

“Health care practitioners and support workers combined represent about 12.6 of the total projected new jobs in Alaska over the decade. They appear disproportionately sensitive to the pandemic, however. Some businesses will close if people put off medical visits for too long, which could also spur early retirements.”

A full breakdown of job growth is available in the October 2020 volume of Economic Trends.