March Unemployment Rate Continues Downward Trend
A downward trend in Alaska’s unemployment rate continued throughout the first quarter of 2022. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development puts the seasonally adjusted figure for March at 5 percent, down from 5.4 in February.
Faster Improvement than Nationally
The rate in Alaska is only slightly higher than the last pre-pandemic reading, but the state remains above the national rate of 3.6 percent.
The unadjusted rate in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough was a combined 4.5 percent, down from February’s 4.9. Unemployment in the Interior and Southeast Alaska both dropped to 4.9 percent.
Total number of jobs increased 2.3 percent since March 2021, with 6,800 more Alaskans employed. That figure is still 11,900 below March 2020, when the state began taking measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The leisure and hospitality sector had 2,700 more jobs than last March. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector was up by 2,200 jobs year over year. The 7,200 jobs in the oil and gas sector held steady from the previous month, about 500 more than year-ago levels but 2,900 less than in 2020.
Local government was up by 700 jobs but down 2,100 from March 2020, mainly in public education. State government employment fell 500 below last year’s level. Federal employment was down 100 from March 2021 and has now risen above its pre-pandemic level.