• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 50s

Shifting demographics boost Alaska labor rates

By Kirsten Swann 12:39 AM November 8, 2013

Data shows older Alaskans increasingly likely to go back to work

ANCHORAGE – While nationwide job participation numbers reached a 30-year low this fall, Alaska economists said the state is heading in the opposite direction.

October data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 62 percent labor force participation rate. The number meant two-thirds of working-age Americans — excluding prison inmates, mental patients and military members – had a job.

Neal Fried, a state labor economist, said the participation rate often presents the most complete economic picture. And while Alaska’s participation rate has declined steadily over the past decade, since 2010 it experienced a slight comeback. Fried said the current Alaska job participation rate stands at about 68 percent.

The biggest employment gains, he said, came from older adult demographics.

“What that’s telling us is that older people are staying in the labor market longer,” Fried said.

Friday afternoon at the University Center Mall, Mark Moraes gripped a stack of resumes and prepared to enter the civilian work force.

“I’m interested in aviation jobs,” Moraes said, dressed in fatigues and accompanied by his wife. “I know Alaska Airlines is here, trying to see who else might be here. As a helicopter pilot, I’m trying to go into aviation.”

Moraes works as a helicopter crew chief for the Alaska Air National Guard, and said he’s ready to retire at the end of the month after spending three decades in the military.

But he’s not done with work.

At Friday’s job fair, Moraes shook hands with prospective employers, collected business cards and prepared to enter the next phase of his career. Fried said it’s a growing trend: Adult workers choosing to continue their employment rather than retire. State labor statistics show adults age 55 and older are increasingly likely to continue working.

While younger demographics have seen declines over past years, Fried said older age groups were going back to work. He said it could point to a variety of things, from the loss of retirement assets following the 2008 recession to new, better employment opportunities created by a slowly recovering economy.

Moraes said he was looking forward to experiencing a new work environment.

“March of last year, I kind of made the decision,” he said. “Just for personal reasons.”

Latest Stories

  • DayBreak

    Daybreak Adopt-a-Pet for Dec. 9, 2016

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 09, 12:00

    From Anchorage Animal Care and Control: Bulldog: Bulldog is a confident, dignified (well, until you get the laser light out for him to play with) and quietly affectionate cat who is seeking a calm home with adults only. He loves to explore and sit up high so he can survey his surroundings. Bulldog has been […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: The Stars We Are perform ‘Silent Night’

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 09, 11:55

    Getting into the holiday spirit, four outgoing contestants from The Stars We Are singing competition performed “Silent Night.” The performance was done completely a cappella, or without instruments, by Andrew Adcock, Mercedes Curran, Jetaime Kathryn and Whitney Youngman. The Stars We Are is a premier singing competition held Thursday nights at Williwaw in Downtown Anchorage. Contestants […]

  • News

    Municipality takes college student to court over $50 traffic fine

    by Daniella Rivera on Dec 09, 11:16

    A University of Alaska Anchorage student says the Municipality of Anchorage is taking him to court over $50. A case that started as a simple traffic citation has been going on for months now, after his court appearance turned into a confrontation between a judge and the Anchorage police officer involved in the traffic stop. “When […]

  • News

    Tongass National Forest plan moves to young-growth timber

    by Associated Press on Dec 09, 11:14

    Plans for managing the nation’s largest national forest call for changes in timber harvests that one critic says will be “the demise of the timber industry.” The Tongass National Forest released a management plan update Friday that it says emphasizes young-growth timber sales in the forest covering much of southeast Alaska over old-growth timber. The […]

  • News

    Feds expand areas where ballots will be in native languages

    by Associated Press on Dec 09, 8:50

    More people who speak Alaska Native languages will be able to receive translated election material thanks to changes made by the U.S. Census Bureau. KTOO-FM reports that the Census Bureau announced on Monday that it has expanded the number of areas and languages eligible for election material translation. The Census Bureau designates languages for translation […]

  • News

    2 injured in head-on Seward Highway crash

    by Associated Press on Dec 09, 8:41

    Two people were injured in a head-on crash on the Seward Highway six miles north of the junction with the Sterling Highway. Alaska State Troopers say 56-year-old Virginia Ingram of Anchorage was flown by LifeMed helicopter to an Anchorage hospital after the crash at about 7 p.m. Wednesday. A Wasilla man, 66-year-old Ted Peter, was […]

  • Buyer Beware: Holiday gift exchange scams to watch out for on Facebook

    by CBS News on Dec 09, 8:03

    ‘Tis the season … to get scammed on Facebook. Two scams called the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” and the “Secret Wine Bottle Exchange” are spreading across Facebook like wildfire, and unfortunately, users are falling for it. It sounds like a fun Secret Santa-like gift exchange, but it’s actually a pyramid scheme in disguise. And worse, […]

  • Government proposes letting airline passengers make phone calls

    by Associated Press on Dec 08, 20:16

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The government is proposing that airlines be allowed to permit their passengers to make phone calls during flights using Wi-Fi despite complaints from flight attendants and others that the calls could be disruptive. The Department of Transportation’s proposal leaves it up to airlines whether to allow the calls. But carriers would be […]