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Unemployment Rate at 6.7 Percent in May 2017


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JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in May, essentially unchanged from April’s 6.6 percent. The comparable national rate was 4.3 percent. The gap between the national rate and the Alaska rate has steadily increased over the last several years.

Preliminary employment estimates show May was down by 6,000 jobs, or 1.8 percent, from May 2016. Oil and gas continued to show the largest over-the-year losses, followed closely by construction, professional and business services, and state government.

Although most sectors lost jobs, health care employment continued to grow as did leisure and hospitality. Local and federal government jobs were also up over the year. Most of the local government growth came from tribal government jobs, which are included in the local government numbers.

May’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from April. From April to May, it is typical to see a decline in the unadjusted rate as tourism and construction ramp up for summer.  

Across the state, unadjusted rates fell or remained the same in 19 of 29 boroughs and census areas. The lowest rates were in Juneau (4.1 percent), Sitka (4.1 percent), and Skagway (4.2 percent) as Southeast prepares for summer visitors. Kusilvak Census Area had the highest rate at 21.1 percent.

 

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