Alaska's unemployment in May remains at 6.7%, job count up from May 2020

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska's employment in May was up 5.7 percent from May of 2020, a gain of 16,500 jobs.

    Jobs in May of 2021 were still 29,600 below May 2019 levels.

    In southeast, 2500 jobs were added comparing May 2021 to May 2020, an 8.2% increase.  State Labor Economist Karinne Wiebold said the increase leads the state as far as year-over-year growth. "It's a little higher than other areas, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that last year, the southeast was hit so hard, so we're looking good as we start to recover some of the losses that we incurred last year," She said.

    The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained 6.7 percent in May. The comparable U.S. rate declined from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent.

    Juneau's unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent in May, down from April's 5.3 percent but up from the 10.7 percent recorded in May of 2020. Other communities in the southeast saw 1-3% drops in unemploment rates. Wiebold said, "It's not really a surprise to anybody who is familiar with the seasonality of Alaska and particularly southeast economy that with these not seasonally adjusted rates for our boroughs and census areas we see them fall as we get into summer, so very expected seasonal pattern."

    Leisure and hospitality was up 6,000 jobs, but still down 9,900 from May 2019.

    Two industries’ job counts went above pre-COVID levels. Health care employment was up 1,800 from 2020 and 300 from 2019. Manufacturing, which is mainly seafood processing in Alaska, was up 400 from 2020 and 100 from 2019.

    Oil and gas was the only major sector with significantly fewer jobs in May than a year ago. Alaska had 6,100 oil and gas jobs, about 1,400 below last year and 3,600 under May 2019.

    Local government’s job count was up 1,100 from last May but down 4,500 from May 2019. State government employment was up 600 from last year and 600 down from 2019. Federal jobs were up from both years, 300 last year and 500 in 2019.

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