Economist: Alaska job losses expected to moderate

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) The state labor department expects continued job losses in Alaska this year but at a more moderate level than earlier in the recession.

Economist Karinne Wiebold tells The Associated Press it appears the depth of the recession is diminishing.

Wiebold writes in a new labor department report that total employment is forecast to decline by 0.5 percent this year, compared to declines of 1.1 percent last year and 1.9 percent in 2016.

She says one reason for slowing losses is that oil and gas, state government and other sectors that suffered bigger losses appear to be stabilizing at lower job levels.

The state was hit hard when oil prices began plummeting in late 2014, blowing a massive hole in a state budget that has been heavily reliant on oil revenues.

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