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Summer job market impacted by lack of workers

Summer job market impacted by lack of workers
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 9:48 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Each summer, Alaska sees a surplus of jobs within the state. According to the Center for Economic Development at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the summer peak in July and August brings up to 40,000 more jobs than it would see during the winter.

This summer, however, experts say employers are going to struggle to fill the increase in seasonal jobs.

“When there are many more jobs that suddenly have to appear, there is a ramp-up for that that happens in March, April and May,” Nolan Klouda said. “I think that employees are looking harder for employees than they have before.”

Klouda, executive director at the center, said that in previous years Alaska has struggled to fill job openings in the summertime, but Klouda is predicting this year will be even worse.

In a traditional year, he said the construction, visitor and fishing industries sees the most growth due to their increase in demand, but with many of these jobs now left unfilled, it’s expected to be a season of struggle to get work done.

“It limits the ability of construction companies to complete things like highway construction on time, when there is those types of capacity challenges,” Klouda said.

Klouda added that a lack of tourism workers impacts what activities are available for those visiting the area.

“Tourist operators, you know, maybe can’t book as many people as they’d like to for lodging operations or tours or whatever kind of services they are offering,” Klouda said.

Klouda said recent research has partially unveiled the effects the pandemic has had on the job market, including visa availabilities for out-of-state workers and a loss of workers due to retirement.

The center said this will impact revenue for the specific industries and the way in which money is circulated throughout the state. Such impacts, Klouda said, can create a ripple effect leading into 2023, especially for smaller towns that rely heavily on their summer tourism season and are therefore more vulnerable to dry spells.

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