Unemployment Down, Most Sectors See Year-Over-Year Job Increases
Alaska’s unemployment rate dropped as summer ended. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development puts the seasonally adjusted figure at 4.4 percent in September, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised rate for August.
Transportation Up, Social Assistance Down
The revision in August meant that unemployment rose slightly, rather than holding steady, from the month before. That echoed the national trend, which likewise dropped two-tenths from August to September to 3.5 percent.
Total number of jobs increased 3 percent since September 2021, with 9,500 more Alaskans employed than a year earlier. That figure is a smaller improvement than the month before and about 13,300 jobs below September 2019.
The transportation sector had the strongest year-over-year growth, up 13.6 percent when counting jobs in the related warehousing and utility sectors. The leisure and hospitality sector was up 13.1 percent, adding 4,500 jobs compared to September 2019.
The oil and gas sector saw 7.7 percent growth in jobs year-over-year, with 500 added since August 2021, yet oil and gas jobs remain 2,800 jobs below September 2019. The department notes that Alaska’s oil and gas workforce peaked in 2014 with 15,000 jobs before the oil price crash and COVID-19 pandemic reduced it by more than half.
Nearly all employment sectors have more jobs than a year earlier, with the notable exception of the normally resilient healthcare workforce. A year-over-year decline of 600 jobs is mostly in the subcategory of social assistance, according to the department. The state government sector was down by 800 jobs, and wholesale trade down by 100 since September 2021.
Architecture & Engineering Special Section + Small Business
In the February 2024 issue of Alaska Business, we engineered a special section that inspects the many ways architecture and engineering enrich our lives, from creating beautiful and functional spaces to crafting functional and safe transportation corridors. In addition to the built world in which we live, this issue celebrates small businesses and the many functions they provide, whether they're developing tools in the healthcare industry or opening new dining locations.