The COVID-19 pandemic has changed Alaskans’ lives and impacted our economy in ways we never could have imagined, leaving many people unemployed and struggling financially.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports Alaska’s job count was down 12.2% in May from the same month last year, a loss of more than 42,000 jobs.
Some jobs have been impossible to perform during the pandemic due to workplace restrictions on in-person staffing. Demand for other services has dwindled as Anchorage residents limit their activities to those deemed essential, such as purchasing groceries and household supplies.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, new job opportunities have unexpectedly emerged, particularly in the health care sector. The need for skilled contact tracing investigators to identify individuals exposed to COVID-19 has skyrocketed. Other jobs, such as those in the IT sector, have remained in demand; hiring increases in other sectors are likely to be needed as organizations across the state reopen.
At the University of Alaska Anchorage, university leaders have been listening to feedback from industry partners and state and local officials regarding real-time employment needs.
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