August Employment Down 0.6 Percent From Last Year; Unemployment Rate at 6.7 Percent
JUNEAU, ALASKA—August employment was down by an estimated 0.6 percent, or 2,000 jobs, compared to August 2017. Retail had the biggest loss at 1,000 jobs. Professional and business services lost 400 jobs over the year, and so did oil and gas.
Construction jobs were up by 300, mainly due to increased activity in Anchorage and the Interior. The other industries that grew were healthcare (700 jobs) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (200).
Public sector employment was down by 300 over the year. Federal government added 100 jobs while local government lost 400 and state government was flat.
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped for the fourth time this year. August’s rate of 6.7 percent was down from 6.9 percent in July and down six‐tenths of a percentage point from the beginning of the year. The comparable national rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent.
Not‐seasonally adjusted rates fell in nearly every borough and census area, following an expected seasonal pattern. Fishing and tourism continue to drive the state’s lowest unemployment rates, with the lowest rate in the Aleutians East Borough at 1.6 percent and Skagway and the Denali Borough both at 2.7 percent.
The highest unemployment rates were in rural areas with little commercial fishing or tourism. Kusilvak Census Area had the state’s highest rate at 17.9 percent, and the Yukon‐Koyukuk Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough, Bethel Census Area, and Nome Census Area all topped 10 percent.