JUNEAU Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in June, unchanged from May. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The comparable national rate was 4.9 percent, up from May’s 4.7 percent.
Alaska’s 6.7 percent rate for May and June followed seven consecutive months at 6.6 percent, the department reported on Friday.
The rate’s gradual change suggests Alaska’s economy is responding slowly to the decline in both oil prices and production, and the related challenges for state government.
The state’s unadjusted rate was 6.8 percent in June, up from 6.6 percent. A rise in the unadjusted rate in the summer may seem counterintuitive, but because of the influx of job seekers after the end of the school year, June is almost always slightly higher than May.
Rates around the state were a mixed bag in June, rising in 11 boroughs and census areas and falling in 17. For the most part, rates increased in areas with a more subdued seasonal employment pattern, and areas where fishing and tourism dominate generated enough additional seasonal employment to offset the increase in unemployment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment survey, Alaska employers added 16,500 jobs from May to June. This period typically has the largest over-the-month job increase as the state approaches peak summer employment.
June’s employment was 0.4 percent higher than in June 2015. Job losses in the oil and gas, construction, and professional and business services sectors as well as state government were offset by growth in retail trade, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Federal government employment was also higher than last year.