Image courtesy of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Wikimedia Commons.

Alaska’s oil and gas sector shed over 2,000 jobs during the first half of 2016 as upstreams continued to layoff employees.

According to data collected by Alaska’s Department of Labor, the state’s oil and gas industry lost 2,384 jobs during the first half of the year.

Those losses accounted for an average monthly loss of 16.4 percent.

The Department of Labor found that oil industry cutbacks “escalated” through the first half of the year, from 11.9 percent fewer jobs in January to 22.1 percent fewer jobs in June.

The report also found that job losses in Alaska spread to most sectors of the economy during the first half of the year.

Average monthly employment fell by 5,530 jobs for the first six months of 2016, a 1.6 percent declined compared to the same period in 2015.

The number of Alaskans employed in the private sector declined by 4,867 jobs largely due to losses in the oil and construction sectors.

Employers in Alaska paid $8.6 billion in wages during the first six months of 2016, down from $9.1 billion during the first half of 2015, the Department of Labor said.

State economist Caroline Schultz told Alaska Public Media that the state hasn’t seen job losses of this size in over two decades.

“It’s dramatic. It’s, really ever since the ’80s recession, we certainly haven’t had job losses of this magnitude,” Schultz said.

Earlier this year, declining oil revenues prompted the Alaskan government to trim the annual oil revenue payments received by residents.

Alaskans will receive $1,000 each from the state’s Permanent Fund this year, down from a record-breaking $2,072 residents received in 2015.

A budget deficit caused by falling oil revenues forced governor Bill Walker to cut the payments from an initial amount of $2,100 per resident.

“We lost 80 percent of our income over the last two years that resulted in a $4 billion deficit. We asked the legislature for help to pass some legislation to balance the budget to get us out of the deficit and unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Walker said earlier this year.


  1. Things will get better when the state opens Alaska up to smaller oil explorers and stops blocking them for the majors that seem to be leaving Alaska slowly leaving many unemployed!

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