December Employment Down 0.3 Percent from Last Year; Unemployment Rate at 6.3 Percent
JUNEAU—December employment was down an estimated 0.3 percent, or 900 jobs, from December 2017. Retail, manufacturing and professional and business services each lost 400 jobs while information and financial activities each fell by 200.
Health care added the largest number of jobs over the year (400). The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector added 200 jobs, as did leisure and hospitality, construction and mining and logging.
Overall, private sector job numbers were down 0.2 percent (-400 jobs) while government employment fell 0.6 percent (-500).
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent, and the comparable national rate increased from 3.7 to 3.9 percent.
Not‐seasonally adjusted rates rose in 16 boroughs and census areas, fell in 11, and remained flat in two. Rates increased in nearly all of the Southwest Region, with the largest increases in the Aleutians East and Bristol Bay boroughs as the fishing season wound down. Unemployment fell in all three areas of the Northern Region, with the biggest decrease in the Northwest Arctic Borough.
Kusilvak Census Area had the highest rate at 18.0 percent while Sitka’s rate was lowest at 4.4 percent. Anchorage’s rate was 5.1 percent, Fairbanks’ was 5.8 percent, and Juneau’s was 5.0 percent.
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The Alaska Marine Lifeline
The current conversation Alaskans are having was spurred by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s initial budget proposal for 2020, which would cut funding to the AMHS by 75 percent and essentially end most operations by October.