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Employment Down 1.3 Percent, Unemployment Rate Unchanged

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JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s total employment was down by an estimated 1.3 percent in October compared to October 2016, a loss of about 4,100 jobs. While the state continues to shed jobs, over-the-year losses have gradually slowed in 2017. The largest loss during the current downturn was -2.6 percent in fall 2016.

Oil and gas employment was down by 7.8 percent, followed by construction (-7.2 percent). The only industries to add jobs were health care (2.0 percent) and local government (0.2 percent), which includes public schools and tribal government. Federal employment was down 1.3 percent and state government was down 2.0 percent.

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in October was unchanged from the prior two months but higher than last October, when it was 6.6 percent. The comparable national rate for October was 4.1 percent.

Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted rate was 6.7 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from September, which is typical in the fall. Unemployment rates were up in 21 of 29 boroughs and census areas, with notable increases in areas dependent on tourism. The largest increases were in Skagway and the Denali Borough.

Unemployment rates fell in six boroughs and census areas and stayed the same in two. Unemployment rates fell around half a percentage point in each of the three areas in the Northern Region: the Nome Census Area, North Slope Borough, and Northwest Arctic Borough.


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