Alaska jobs up by 900 in May

State labor department data shows that employment in Alaska rose by an estimated 0.3 percent, or 900 jobs, over May 2018.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said in late June that construction added some 1,100 jobs in the private sector, followed by 500 in oil and gas. Manufacturing, mostly in seafood processing, recorded the biggest year-over-year decline at 600 jobs. Financial activities fell by 300 jobs and the information sector by 200.

Alaska had 400 more federal jobs and 300 more local government jobs than in May 2018. State government employment meanwhile fell by 1,700 positions, but that was due to a technical timing issue, according to the labor department. Because school ended slightly earlier this May than last at the University of Alaska, the data show those jobs ending one pay period earlier than a year ago. If it were not for that, the number of state government jobs would have been about the same as last year.

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent after holding steady at 6.5 percent for nine months, compared to the national rate, of 3.6 percent.

Tourism drove the largest rate drops in non-seasonally adjusted unemployment, with the Denali Borough’s rate falling from 14.8 percent to 5.3 percent and Skagway’s from 11.9 percent to 4.0 percent.

The Kusilvak census area, which has high year-round unemployment, had the state’s highest rate at 21.2 percent, compared to 5.2 percent in Anchorage, 5.5 percent in Fairbanks and 4.3 percent in Juneau.