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Unemployment Rate Drops to Five-Year Low

May unemployment fell to the lowest May rate seen in Anchorage since 2007, according to the latest employment report released by the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Typically lower than April’s rate, the May reading fell one-tenth of a point to 4.7 percent. The reading is expected to spike in June as education workers on the school district’s summer break begin to show up as unemployed.

Unemployment rates in the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula Boroughs also dropped drastically, down 27 and 30 percent from the January estimate. The average year-to-date non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Anchorage was 5 percent, down 0.1 percent from April and 0.8 percent lower than the 2012 year-to-date average.

Anchorage has seen a total increase of 1,500 jobs so far in 2013. Jobs in the goods producing industries are showing remarkable growth with an average of 1,020 more jobs year-to-date in 2013 than over the same period in 2012.  The oil and gas sector is leading the way with a growth rate of more than 15 percent, an increase of 460 jobs since last year at this point. The construction industry is also seeing an increase in jobs, with permitting numbers indicating a strong construction season.

Services producing jobs are up 440 year-to-date from 2012, with the educational and health services sector showing the highest growth rate at 3.18 percent year-to-date. Jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector are growing at twice the rate of the overall totals, with the cruise industry adding more than 40,000 passenger berths to the Alaska fleet in anticipation of a busy season. Federal and local government sectors are both averaging less than this point last year, but the year-to-date state government jobs average is up by 60.

Although the May estimate of transportation jobs held steady from the 2012 numbers, AEDC estimates that this industry should retain 100 jobs by the end of the year. The professional and business services sector shows one of the highest rates of increase of all the service providing industries at 2.28 percent.

AEDC is a private, nonprofit membership organization developed in 1987 to encourage growth and to diversify the Anchorage economy. The organization has more than 235 investors, which represent all industries in Anchorage and Alaska. For more information visit www.AEDCweb.com

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