Commentary: The good employment news below is all about a dynamic Alaska oil industry on the cutting edge of new technology. Longtime Alaskans know that oil not only supports industry jobs, but pays the lions share of government budgets that also fund education, public works, public safety and infrastructure for retail, tourism and commercial fishing industries and JOBS! We’re even pleased to spot signs of a new LNG project for commercializing Alaska North Slope gas. But a lawyer is a major sponsor of a voters oil tax initiative. This dangerous tax proposal could enrich certain lawyers, while reducing investment in our state and killing the trend of rising employment and overall prosperity. We’ll have more on this later. Meanwhile, here’s a related article by MustReadAlaska and the Daily Planet. -dh
by Alaskanomics, Northrim Bank
The employment numbers for the third quarter of 2019 show that employment has continued increase throughout the state and the unemployment rate remained relatively flat for the quarter.
In July, employment was up 0.5 percent, approximately 1,800 jobs from last July. Construction continued to see the largest gain with an increase of 600 jobs for the month. Oil and Gas was not far behind with an increase of 500 jobs. Growth was steady in the private sector, but there were still areas to see a decrease. Financial Services and the Information Sector lost 400 and 300 jobs, respectively.
Within the public sector, both Federal and State jobs increased with 400 and 300 more jobs than in July of 2018, respectively. A lot of the job growth came from an increase in staffing due to a busy fire season. Both the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the federal Bureau of Land Management added jobs during the fire response.
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in July, which was still higher than the national rate of 3.7 percent.
August’s employment growth was only slightly up from August 2018, but there was still an addition of about 400 jobs, which is a 0.1 percent increase. Construction and Oil and Gas added the same amount of jobs in August as they did in July. Manufacturing and Financial Services saw the largest loss, each losing 300 jobs.
In August, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.2 percent, while the national rate remained at 3.7 percent.
September saw another large jump with an increase of 2,000 jobs, which was a 0.6 percent increase over September 2018. Construction continued its large gains adding 800 jobs over last year. Oil and Gas and Leisure and Hospitality also grew with 500 and 400 jobs, respectively.
State government lost 400 jobs from last year, mostly due to cutbacks at the University of Alaska due to significant cuts in state funding.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.2 percent, but the national average dropped slightly to 3.5 percent. The not-seasonally adjusted rate followed the usual fall pattern with rates rising in nearly all areas of the state. Tourism and fishing drove a lot of the movement in the rates as things started to wind down for the winter.
Up-to-date employment numbers can be found at the State of Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website.