Jobs in Alaska up 3.8% from last September

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in September. The comparable U.S. rate decreased from 5.2% last month to 4.8%.

    September's job count in the state was 3.8% up from last year 2020, an increase of 11,600 jobs, but still 25,500 jobs below September 2019 levels.

    Department of Labor Economist Karinne Wiebold said the state had 6700 jobs in September, 200 down over the year, but still 3100 lower than it was in 2019.

    "Oil and gas has definitely been the industry that had the most trouble recovering jobs and continued to lose jobs year over the year far into the pandemic, whereas most other industries started to grow as soon as we passed the initial pandemic shock. So once we got past April of this year, when we were comparing ourselves to first month of the pandemic last year, most industries started to look like they were growing."

    Leisure and hospitality added 4,700 jobs compared to last September.

    Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 2,900 jobs over the year.

    Local government had 400 more jobs than last September but 2,000 fewer than September 2019, Wiebold says public education appears to be the main reason.

    "When we look at public schools, they got hit really hard by COVID. They had all those closures last year but comparing ourselves this September when school started in person again to last September when school is still remote, we have 400 more jobs than we did last year. But we're still down 2000 in public education compared to two years ago. So it's very much smaller but slight recoveries over last year."

    For non-seasonally adjusted unemployment, Juneau's unemployment rate in September stayed at 3.6%, but up from last year's 5.7%.

    The rate in Haines was 7.7%, up from August's 7.4% but down and last September's 11.2%

    Skagway rate is at 9.4%, up from August's 8.6% but down compared to last September's 16.9%.

    The Hoonah Angoon Census Area recorded 6.4% unemployment rate in September, an increase compared to 6.1% in August but down from last September's 10.0%.

    Ketchikan's unemployment rate in September stood at 5.6%, remaining about the same compared to August's 5.7% but down from last years 7.9%

    The unemployment rate in Sitka increased slightly to 3.3, up from 2.9% in August but still down compared to last September's 4.8%.

    "What we see here is, again, communities that usually have some tourism effect or some fishing effect, or are slightly busier in the summer. As they move into fall, they're going to have a higher unemployment rate because they've got some folks who had been employed during the summer in some of these other industries and aren't now, so very expected to see these unemployment rates rise," Wiebold said.

    The lowest and highest unemployment rates that were recorded were in the Southwest Region, with the Aleutians East Borough at 2%, and the Kusilvak Census Area reported 15.6% unemployment.

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