January jobs down 7.4 percent from January 2020, unemployment up

    JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska’s January employment was down 7.4 percent from January 202, a loss of 23,000 jobs as the pandemic continued to keep job counts well below year-ago levels.

    The job figures come from the  Research and Analysis Unit of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Leisure and hospitality continued to record the largest losses, with 7,800 fewer jobs than the prior January, down 25.7 percent). Oil and gas employment was down 3,400 or 34 percent.  Retail trade and the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector both had 1,800 fewer jobs, down 5.3 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively. Local government’s job count was 2,000 lower, primarily in public education. Professional and business services employment was down 1,700 or 6.3 percent.

    State government’s job count was up 200 from the previous January, mostly from pandemic-related hires such as contract tracers and additional staff to process unemployment insurance claims.

    The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.6 percent in January from a revised December rate of 6.5 percent. The comparable U.S. rate dipped from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent.

    In its release, Research and Analysis says Alaska’s unemployment rate has been an unreliable and misleading economic indicator during the COVID-affected months. Key inputs to the unemployment rate come from a household survey the U.S. Census Bureau conducts for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That survey has been difficult to conduct during the pandemic and has produced data that are out of sync with job numbers and unemployment insurance claims.

    Job losses remain historically large, and unemployment claims during the second week of January were still 3.5 times higher than the same week in 2020, according to the release.

    Juneau's unemployment rate in January stood at 5.4 percent up from December's rate of 4 point 8 percent and 4 percent last year.

    The rate in Haines for this January was 14.2 percent up from December's 11.8 and last January's 13.3 percent.

    Skagway had the highest unemployment rate in the state this January at 20.5 percent.  That compared to 17.5 percent in December and 19.5 percent in January of 2020.

    The lowest employment rates were recorded in the Aleutians East Borough at 2 point 3 percent and the 4.3 percent in the Aleutians West Census Area.

    The Hoonah Angoon Census Area recorded a 12.3 percent unemployment rate in January compared to 10.6 in December and 14.1 last year.

    Ketchikan's unemployment rate in January stood at 8.1 percent compared to 7.4 in December and 6.7 last year.

    The unemployment rate in Sitka this January was 6.8 percent, up from 6.1 percent in December and 4.4 percent in January of 2020.

    Anchorage had a 6.3 percent unemployment rate in January compared to 6.1 in December and 4.2 last year.

    The Fairbanks North Star Borough recorded a rate of 5.5 percent in January compared to 5.1 in December and 4.7 last year.

     

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