Employment in Fairbanks and across the state continues to recover as the U.S. economy pulls out of a job slowdown from the Covid-19 outbreak. The number of jobs, however, has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Alaska’s unemployment rate in June was 6.6%, down from 11.2% from June 2020, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough unemployment rate was 5.2% in June, representing a significant drop in joblessness from 2020, according to state labor figures. The Fairbanks area unemployment rate was at 9.3% in June 2020.
Alaska’s jobless rate in June was slightly higher than the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.9%. Overall, Alaska industries with the biggest year-over-year job increases were ones hardest hit during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to labor officials.
Employment in hospitality, construction and health care posted the strongest gains in June compared to a year ago, with the number of jobs in Alaska up by 17,000 from June 2020. Major industries with year-over-year job increases in Alaska were:
• Leisure and hospitality up 16.7%, compared to June 2020
• Transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 13.4%
• Manufacturing (largely in seafood processing), up 8%
• Construction, up 6.9%
• Education and healthcare, up 4.5%
But oil and gas reported fewer jobs in June over the same month last year. There were 6,200 oil and gas jobs in Alaska, a 12.7 percent decrease from June 2020. The number of oil and gas jobs was down from a pre-pandemic level of 10,000 in June 2019.
Mining and logging jobs were off by 2.8% last month over June 2020. Employment in the financial sector was down by 1.9% compared to June 2020.
Employment data from June shows a rise in government jobs over June 2020. The number of local government jobs, which includes public schools and tribal government, increased by 1,000.
State government, which covers the University of Alaska, added 300 jobs. Federal government jobs (excluding the military) also increased by 300 jobs.
But government employment has not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels of 2019, reflecting a similar trend across private industry.
Alaska Trends Magazine, produced by the state labor department, noted that although state employment is up since the spread of Covid-19 started in spring 2020, it’s “well below the same months’ jobs levels” of 2019.
Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.