May Employment Down 0.6 Percent from Last Year
Unemployment rate at 7.2 percent
JUNEAU, AK—Preliminary estimates show May employment was down by 2,000, or 0.6 percent, from May 2017. The biggest losses were in retail (-800) and state government (-500). The oil and gas, financial activities, and professional and business services sectors each lost 400 jobs over the year.
Health care added 1,000 jobs, followed by manufacturing at 400 and transportation, warehousing, and utilities at 200. Construction employment, which has taken a major hit during this recession, was flat for a second straight month, hinting at possible growth during the traditionally busy summer.
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down slightly in May, to 7.2 percent, after holding steady at 7.3 percent since the beginning of the year. The comparable national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since the late 1960s.
Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell in most of the state in May, which is typical. Skagway and the Denali Borough had the largest declines and two of the state’s lowest rates at the beginning of what is expected to be a banner tourism season.
The lowest rate was 4.1 percent in Sitka, where fish processing and tourism picked up steam. Kusilvak Census Area continued to have the highest rate at 21.2 percent. Unemployment rates will continue to decline into the summer in most parts of the state as construction, fishing, and visitor activity increases.