In the wake of Alaska’s three-year recession from 2016 to 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail sector in Alaska has been seriously hurt. According to Alaska Department of Labor numbers released this month, retail jobs in 2020 plummeted, losing over 2500 jobs last year alone.
One of the exceptions to the retail dive, though, was Kodiak.
Kodiak still lost a few retail jobs through the pandemic, only 8 out of nearly 500 in the borough, or just over 1%. But Kodiak fared much better than other coastal communities. Yakutat, for instance, dropped over 12% of their retail jobs, and the Bristol Bay area lost over 15%.
Why did Kodiak lose few retail jobs during the pandemic?
The Department of Labor thinks it might have to do with the nature of Kodiak’s retail sector, which is dominated by what have been deemed “essential” stores in the pandemic: grocers, general merchandisers, and building supply stores. And several of Kodiak’s small retail businesses have seen modest success with online sales.
You can read the full report in the April issue of Trends on the Alaska Department of Labor website.