Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Outlook Upbeat for Alaska Seafood Harvesters, Processors

A new labor report on employment in Alaska’s seafood industry says the harvesting sector in 2013 averaged monthly employment growth not seen since 2000, and predicts continued grow in the processing sector through 2022.

The November edition of Alaska Trends, focused on seafood harvesting and processing jobs, also notes that the six community development quota groups tasked with boosting the economy of 65 villages in Western Alaska had gross revenues of $318 million in 2013, from a variety of sources that included fishing, processing, quota royalties, program revenue, and investment income, and combined net assets for 2013 amounted to $899 million.

Daniel Strong, a research analyst with the Alaska Department of Labor in Juneau, said seafood processing industry employment is projected to grow by 6.7 percent between 2012 and 2022, and the highest-paid processing occupations are expected to grow at nearly twice that rate.

Across all industries in the processing sector, expected growth ranges from a low of 6.9 percent for electrician helpers to 15.3 percent for captains, mates and boat pilots, Strong noted.

Job numbers in the processing sector grew by 2.4 percent in 2013, primarily driven by increased salmon harvest, bringing the year’s monthly average to 8,393 jobs, less than 400 shy of the 2000 level, said Josh Warren, an Alaska Department of Labor economist in Juneau, writing in the state agency’s monthly report on economic trends.

The increase in harvesting and jobs has also produced a larger seasonal swing, Warren said. Alaska’s seafood harvesting has one of the strongest seasonal patterns in the nation, with a difference of about 25,000 jobs between the highest and lowest months.  Winter employment shrank or remained stable in 2013, while peak summer employment reached a record of 25,859 jobs in July.  In June alone, there were 2,500 more harvesters than for the same month in 2012.

Salmon harvesting jobs were the main source of growth in harvesting employment between 2012 and 2013, with a gain of 452 jobs, or 10 percent.

This growth came from a small increase in reported crew sizes by permit holders, as well as more fishing, Warren noted.

Read the complete report online at http://labor.alaska.gov/trends/nov14.pdf

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