COVID-19 disruptions cause 13.1 percent job loss in April

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau had 10.8 percent unemployment in April, more than twice the rate during April, 2019, the Alaska Department of Labor said today.

    Alaska’s job count was down 13.1 percent in April from the same month last year, a loss of 42,200 jobs. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 12.9 percent, up from 5.2 percent in March. The comparable U.S rate rose from 4.4 percent to 14.7 percent.

    COVID-19 caused disruptions across the state, especially to public-facing businesses such as stores, bars, restaurants, and other gathering places. April is when visitor-related industries, construction, and other industries normally start adding jobs to prepare for the state’s busy summer season.

    Some of these jobs will return as restrictions ease, but many seasonal jobs won’t materialize this year — such as those serving cruise ship tourists. Others will return only slowly as employers assess uncertain demand and changing operating procedures as a result of the pandemic.

    Around the region Southeast had 13.8 percent, Haines 27.3 percent, Hoonah Angoon 18 percent, Ketchikan 17.3 percent, Petersburg 15.5 percent, Prince of Wales 13.8 percent, Sitka 12.8 percent, Skagway 31.4 percent, Wrangell 14.7 percent and Yakutat, nine percent.

    Disruptions touched every major industry in Alaska, although by varying degrees.

    Leisure and hospitality were down the most, numerically and in percentage terms, dropping 48.1 percent from last April (-15,600).

    Retail lost 5,000 jobs, or 14.3 percent. Local government lost 4,000 jobs in both public education and government.

    State government employment fell by 1,500, with the majority of losses at the University of Alaska.

    Census hiring made federal government the only sector to have more jobs this April than last (about 700).



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