Alaska Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.5%, Still Near Record Low
Alaska’s unemployment rate wavered heading into fall. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development puts the seasonally adjusted figure for October at 4.5 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from September.
Smaller Increase than Nationally
The rise in unemployment in Alaska was smaller than the month-to-month change in the national rate, up two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent in October.
The unemployment rate in the Anchorage area went up by two-tenths of a point, to 3.4 percent. That ties Southeast Alaska for the region with the lowest rate in October. Unemployment dropped in the Northern region from 7.1 percent in September to 6.6 percent in October.
Total number of jobs in Alaska increased by 2 percent since October 2021, with 6,100 more Alaskans employed than a year earlier. That figure is a smaller improvement than the month before, but the difference compared to October 2019 is down to 10,800 jobs.
The job count in the leisure and hospitality sector was up by 9.7 percent year over year, adding 2,900 jobs. That beats the 9.6 percent growth in the transportation, warehousing, and utility sector, which gained 2,000 jobs since October 2021. Transportation employment rose above pre-pandemic levels, but leisure and hospitality has 1,700 more to go before a full recovery.
The oil and gas sector gained 300 jobs compared to a year earlier but is still 2,700 below October 2019. The department notes that the industry employs less than half as many workers as the peak of 7,100 in October 2014, on the verge of the oil price crash.
Although most industries were up from year-ago levels, state and federal government and private education and health employment were lower than a year ago. The biggest losses came from state government, down by 900, and the education and health category, down by 400. Private social services registered the bulk of the losses in that sector. The federal government was down 100 jobs over the year.