Where Have The Seasonal Jobs Gone?
Nationally , the winter holiday season is prime time for seasonal hires, but Alaska relies heavily on seasonal jobs during the spring and summer months.
Nationally, the holiday season traditionally signifies an upswing in the job market, particularly in the retail sector.
Alaska doesn’t always fall in line with the rest of the country, though, and the job market is no exception.
"There are actually fewer jobs” in the winter, said Neal Fried, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor. “The peak period for our number of jobs is in the summertime."
The tourism, fishing and oil and gas industries are the state’s top employers, but these are industries that essentially shut down over the colder winter months.
"The only things that kind of picks up in the winter, certainly during the Christmas season, are parts of retail,” Fried said.
But while the holidays might mean an increase in retail sales, many Alaska businesses said they just don’t need the extra help.
"We typically don't need to do that because we have such a constant employment level throughout the year, and have highly-trained staff,” said Angela Libal, store manager at Title Wave Books.
The popular Anchorage bookstore has been in business for twenty years, and Libal said employment levels have remained steady despite the nationwide recession that began in 2008.
When it comes to the holidays, she said they don’t see the kind of rush businesses might experience in other states.
"It's not at such a high volume where we're having to really call on lots of extra reinforcements,” Libal said. “We just know we've got to move faster and work harder."
So if you’re looking for a seasonal job, you might have to wait for a friendlier season.