Employment rate down by 0.4 percent

Job applications

State labor officials say preliminary estimates show employment in April was down by 1,200 or 0.4 percent, compared to a year ago, so while job losses continue, they are clearly moderating.

Retail lost 600 positions, oil and gas 500, and local government 500 statewide.

Health care added 1,000 jobs and manufacturing another 400. Construction had the same number of jobs as in April 2017, hinting at possible growth coming.

April was the 31st consecutive month that Alaska lost jobs, making this a longer downturn than in the 1980s, when a deep recession in the state led to 25 straight months of job loss. While employment losses have lasted longer this time, they were deeper in the 1980s, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Nationally employment has been up from 1.5 percent to 2 percent over year-ago levels for the last 31 months.

The Aleutians East Borough, supported by spring fisheries, had the lowest rate of unemployment, while the Kusilvak Census Area had the highest rate, at 20.8 percent. State labor officials said unemployment rates should continue to fall in nearly all areas as construction, fishing and visitor industries as the summer months approach.