Employment Down 0.8 Percent, Unemployment Rate Unchanged
JUNEAU, AK—Alaska’s total employment was down an estimated 0.8 percent in March from March 2017, a loss of about 2,600 jobs.
As a percentage, oil and gas employment’s decline of 6.0 percent was the largest (-600 jobs). Retail was down 2.0 percent (-700 jobs). Construction’s loss of 0.8 percent (-100 jobs) was smaller than in recent months. Employment fell in all three sectors of government: federal by 0.7 percent, state by 0.8 percent and local by 1.2 percent. Local government’s declines were in public education. Health care continued to be the outlier, adding 1,000 jobs since March 2017 for a 2.7 percent increase.
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 7.3 percent in March. The comparable national rate was 4.1 percent.
Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted rate dropped to 7.9 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from February. Unemployment rates fell in all but three of 29 boroughs and census areas, increasing slightly in Petersburg and Kusilvak and holding steady in Aleutians West. The lowest rates were in the Aleutians East Borough (1.8 percent) and the Aleutians West Census Area (2.5 percent), as is typical for areas with winter fisheries.
Rates were over 20 percent in rural areas with limited year-round employment including Kusilvak (22.6 percent), Hoonah-Angoon (20.5 percent) and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (20.1 percent). Skagway, which depends on summer tourism, also has consistently high rates in the offseason (21.1 percent).