Alaska Employment: Unemployment Rate Steady in February and Jobs Total Rises 2.5 Percent
Approaching National Rate
The statewide rate is converging on the national average, which rose to 3.6 percent in February from 3.4 the month before.
The unadjusted unemployment rate in the Anchorage area dropped significantly, down to 3.9 percent in February from 5.3 in January. Juneau was lower at 3.2 percent, as the legislative session got underway, and the Aleutians East Borough posted the state’s lowest unemployment at 1.5 percent, thanks to the tanner crab season and in spite of the closure of the snow crab and red king crab season. The Kodiak Island Borough likewise dropped from 8.3 percent in January to 3.8 in February.
Every area had lower unadjusted rates except for Yakutat and Northwest Arctic Borough.
Total number of jobs in Alaska was up significantly year over year, with 313,200 in February compared to 305,500 in 2022. The 2.5 percent increase was driven by 2,300 new jobs counted in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector and 2,100 in the leisure and hospitality sector. DOLWD points out that those sectors sustained some of the biggest losses during the pandemic, but the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector is now above pre-pandemic job levels, and leisure and hospitality is close. The professional and business services sector also has nearly recovered to its pre-pandemic job count, up 700 jobs since February 2022.
The local government sector added 500 jobs, year over year, while state and federal employment held steady compared to February 2022.
The only sector to lose jobs since February 2022 was manufacturing, down by 100, yet last month’s 11,400 jobs in that sector was a recovery from a dip to 9,600 in January. DOLWD notes that manufacturing in Alaska is mainly seafood processing and can vary considerably from year to year.