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Unemployment Rate at 6.8 Percent in June


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JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in June, one-tenth of a percentage point higher than May. The comparable national rate was 4.4 percent.

June employment was down by an estimated 5,500 jobs, or 1.6 percent, compared to June 2016. The estimates suggest job losses are tapering somewhat. Over-the-year losses were as high as 9,000 in the fall of 2016, which equated to about 2.5 percent.

Health care, federal and local government, and leisure and hospitality were the only industries to gain jobs over the year. State government led employment losses (-1,500), followed by construction (-1,400), and oil and gas (-1,300 jobs).  

June’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.0 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from May. While a summer increase in the rate may seem counterintuitive, June’s unemployment rate is frequently up slightly from May because the end of the school year brings an influx of entrants into the labor force, not all of whom find work right away.

Across the state, unemployment rates fell in 14 of 29 boroughs and census areas. Fishing and tourism drove the lowest rates around the state, with Aleutians East and Aleutians West at 2.7 percent and 3.8 percent respectively and Skagway and Denali Borough at 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent. Kusilvak Census Area continued to have the highest rate at 23.7 percent.

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