Job growth up by 0.6 percent

Employment rose by an estimated 0.6 percent in September, or 2,000 jobs over September 2018, state labor officials say.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate meanwhile held at 6.2 percent, while the comparable national rate dipped to 3.5 percent, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Military projects, increased oil and gas activity and tourism continue to drive widespread job growth, with gains of 800 jobs in construction, 500 jobs in oil and gas, 400 jobs in leisure and hospitality, and 400 jobs also in professional and business services.

Still, Alaska had 400 fewer state government jobs in September than in September a year ago, due to major budget cuts in the university system. Local government was down 100 jobs and federal employment was flat over the year despite jobs created when the U.S. Census Bureau hired short-term workers in advance of the 2020 Census.

Labor department officials said the not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate followed the expected fall pattern, with rates rising in nearly all boroughs and census areas. Fishing and tourism had the lowest unemployment, with the Aleutians East Borough at 2.2 percent and the Aleutians West Census Area and Skagway at 3.1 percent. Rural areas without fishing or tourism had the highest unemployment. Kusilvak Census Area was highest at 16.2 percent, and over 10 percent in the Bethel Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough and Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.  Unemployment in urban areas was below the statewide average, with Anchorage at 5.0 percent, Fairbanks at 4.9 percent and Juneau at 4.0 percent.