Alaska unemployment rate at 6.2 percent

Employment in Alaska has crept up an estimated 0.1 percent or August, or 400 jobs, from August 2018, putting the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 6.2 percent compared to the 3.7 percent national average, state labor officials say.

Construction and oil and gas jobs continued to lead job growth by 600 and 500 jobs respectfully with increased North Slope activity and military projects in the Interior, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported on Sept. 20. Manufacturing, primarily in seafood processing, and the financial activities sector lost 300 jobs each.

Alaska had 400 more federal jobs this August than last year, due in part to the Bureau of Land Management’s fire response and a ramp-up in census hiring. Some 200 jobs were lost on the state level, plus 100 jobs on the local level.

Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate followed the typical summer pattern, with rates falling or remaining flat in most areas. Fishing and tourism drove the lowest rates, with the Aleutians East Borough and Aleutians West Census Area at 2 percent and 2.6 percent, and Skagway and the Denali Borough were at 2.6 percent and 3.2 percent.

Rural areas where there is no fishing or tourism had higher rates. 

The Kusilvak Census Area’s rates was highest at 18.6 percent. Unemployment rates in the Bethel Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough, Nome Census Area and Yukon-Koyukuk Census all were topped by 10 percent.