Labor researcher says Alaska’s lost cruise season is leading to the state’s slower recovery

Juneau’s cruise ship docks are empty on April 23, 2020. The cruise ship season was supposed to begin, but sailings have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Jennifer Pemberton / KTOO)

Alaska’s job losses weren’t as steep as the national average in April, but the state’s recovery is lagging behind nearly every other state.

That’s one of the conclusions Alaska Department of Labor Research Chief Dan Robinson reached in an article in the department’s monthly Trends publication. Robinson looked at COVID-19 job losses for each state compared to the same month the year before.

“There are four states that have worse job numbers than us in July, and all four of them had more leisure and hospitality job loss than we did, and than the U.S. did in general,” Robinson said.

A big factor was the total loss of the summer cruise ship season. In the Lower 48, states with national parks recovered a portion of their tourism with the summer driving season. But, Robinson points out, cruise traffic to Alaska just stopped.

He predicts Alaska’s recovery will look comparatively better in October, when 2020 won’t be compared to a normal peak season.

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