Job losses appear to be slowing across state

State lost 1,700 jobs between June 2017 and June 2018; decline is less than at recession’s start

Alaska’s unemployment rate improved slightly in June, but detailed statistics show job losses continuing.

According to figures from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 7.2 percent to 7.1 percent in June. That improvement comes even as the state reports the fewest number of June jobs since 2010. According to figures from the department, the state had 347,400 nonfarm jobs in June. That’s down 1,700 from June 2017 and down 10,600 from June 2015, the start of a statewide oil-price-driven recession.

The good news: The rate of decline is slowing. There was a decline of 6,100 jobs between June 2015 and June 2016. That decline dropped to 2,800 between June 2016 and June 2017. Alaska’s employment is heavily seasonal, with surges in the summer and drops in the winter as tourism and salmon fishing end.

That makes year-over-year comparisons more valuable than month-by-month comparisons when determining the health of the state economy.

Across the state, regional unemployment rates are generally lower than they were one year ago. In Southeast, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent, down from 5.8 percent in June 2017.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or 523-2258.

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