Job Growth Seen for Three Consecutive Months
Alaska’s construction industry had the largest addition of jobs in March 2019.
Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development publishes monthly employment numbers. During February and March, employment in Alaska was up 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. While the initial increase of jobs is small, it is significant because February was the second month in a row that jobs increased after more than three years of job loss. The increase in March was even more encouraging as growth continued and was higher than January and February.
During the month of February, Alaska saw a growth of about 400 jobs. The largest growth was in Construction that added 1,000 jobs. Oil and Gas added 500 jobs. The largest loss came from the Manufacturing sector, which includes seafood processing. This sector lost 500 jobs over last February. Overall, the private sector was up 800 jobs and the public sector was down 400 jobs.
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted February unemployment numbers remained at 6.5 percent, while the national average fell from 4.0 percent to 3.8 percent.
March recorded an additional 1,000 jobs over March 2018. Construction continued to have the largest addition of jobs with 1,100 new jobs over the previous year. Health Care and the Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities sector both added 400 jobs. As was the case in February, Manufacturing lost 500 jobs. Both Federal and Local Government lost jobs, but State Government was up 100 jobs.
The March unemployment rate remained 6.5 percent and the national average held steady at 3.8 percent.
Experts are hopeful that job growth will continue in the coming months and will signal that the state has come out of the recent recession. While there is hope for this, it is also contingent on the final budget for the state in fiscal year 2020, which is still being debated in the Legislature.
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Alaska’s Giving Pipeline
Few large foundations support “the general good” or social service projects in Alaska, so the Last Frontier has a pretty thin philanthropic layer, according to United Way of Anchorage Vice President Cassandra Stalzer. However, the oil and gas industry has a history of stepping in and filling the gaps in Alaska communities by providing money and volunteers for myriad charitable efforts in the state.