Alaska unemployment still far above national average

Alaska’s job picture was up an estimated 0.4 percent in October, or 1,400 jobs, from the same month a year ago, but the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 6.2 percent, compared to the national rate of 3.6 percent.

For the Valdez-Cordova Census area, unemployment stood at 8.3 percent, up from 5.9 percent in October and 7.7 percent a year ago, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Statewide, oil and gas industry firms hired 500 workers and the construction industry added 400 jobs. Another 300 jobs were filled in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and healthcare over the year, while 500 jobs were lost in state government, primarily due to University of Alaska budget cuts.

Local government job opportunities were flat over the year. The federal government added 100 short-term workers in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Census.

The lowest rate of non-seasonally adjusted unemployment was 2.5 percent in the Aleutians East Borough, followed by Juneau, 4.2 percent and Aleutians West Census Area at 4.3 percent.

Unemployment rates more than doubled in most tourism-heavy areas, with Denali at 9.2 percent and Skagway at 6.9 percent.

The highest unemployment rates statewide included the Kusilvak Census Area, 15.2 percent; while rates exceeded 10 percent in the Bethel Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and Hoonah-Angoon Census Area.

For urban areas, the unemployment rates included Anchorage, 4.7 percent; Fairbanks, 4.9 percent, and Juneau, 4.2 percent.