Unemployment Rate at 7.2 Percent in August - P.O.W. Report

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Unemployment Rate at 7.2 Percent in August

JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in August, up two-tenths of a percentage point from July. The comparable national rate was 4.4 percent.

August employment was down by an estimated 1.4 percent, or 4,800 jobs, compared to August 2016. Preliminary estimates show job losses spread across most industries, although the losses remain concentrated in industries closely tied to oil or oil revenue.

Oil and gas led employment losses (-1,000 jobs), followed by construction (-1,000), professional and business services (-800), manufacturing (-600), and state government (-600). Health care, local government, and federal government were all up slightly over August 2016 levels.

August’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from July. Although August is the tail end of summer, employment typically remains high as tourism, fishing, and construction continue to drive seasonal employment.

Across the state, unemployment rates fell or remained the same compared to July in 24 of 29 boroughs and census areas. Fishing and tourism drove the lowest rates around the state, with Aleutians East and West at 1.7 percent and 2.7 percent respectively, and Skagway and Denali Borough at 2.8 percent and 3.4 percent. Kusilvak Census Area had the highest rate at 21.2 percent.

Although rates generally fell from July to August because of Alaska’s normal seasonal patterns, the rates are mostly higher than year-ago levels. Among the state’s six economic regions, only Gulf Coast — Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, and Valdez Cordova Census Area — did not register higher unemployment rates in August 2017 than in August 2016.

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