Alaska unemployment rate edges up for June

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 6.8 percent, compared to the national rate of 4.4 percent. 

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said June employment was down by an estimated 5,500 jobs, or 1.6 percent, compared to June a year ago. Estimates suggest job losses are tapering off somewhat, the agency report said. 

Health care, federal and local government, and leisure and hospitality were the only industries showing a gain in jobs over the year. Some 1,500 jobs were lost in state government, plus another 1,400 in construction and 1,300 in the oil and gas industry. 

June’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.0 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from May. While a summer increase in the rate may see counterintuitive, June’s unemployment rate is frequently up slightly from May because the end of the school year brings an influx of entrants into the labor force, not all of whom find work right away, the agency said. 

Statewide unemployment rates fell in 14 of 29 boroughs and census areas.  Fishing and tourism drove the lowest rates around the state, with Aleutians East and Aleutians West at 2.7 percent and 3.8 percent respectively. Skagway and Denali Borough were at 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent unemployment respectively.  

The Kusilvak census area continued to have the highest rate of unemployment, at 23.7 percent.