- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska gained nearly 2,600 jobs in the first half of the year, or a .8 percent gain from the same time in 2014.

The state labor department released the figures Tuesday.

On average, 335,300 Alaskans were working every month from January through June of this year.

Employers paid $9 billion in wages during that time, a 2.1 percent increase from the same period in 2014 and adjusted for inflation.

The private sector added a bulk of the new jobs, and the loss of federal job losses slowed.

Construction and oil and gas companies added about a thousand new jobs.

New store openings led to nearly 700 retail jobs. Hires in bars and restaurants accounted for a bulk of the 700 leisure and hospitality industry jobs.

The only private industry that lost jobs was seafood processing because of fewer winter hires and a late Bristol Bay sockeye return.

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