September jobs down 11.0 percent from last September
Oct. 16, 2020
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s September job count was down 11.0 percent from last September, a loss of 37,600 jobs. The pandemic kept job counts far below year-ago levels in all industries except federal government, which was up 900 jobs from September 2019 due to temporary hiring for the 2020 Census.
Leisure and hospitality was down the most, with 13,600 fewer jobs than last September (-33.5 percent). The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector had 6,000 fewer jobs, mainly in scheduled air transportation and scenic and sightseeing transportation.
We update our job estimates as additional data become available, and recent revisions show steeper losses during the first several months of the pandemic than initially reported, particularly in transportation, warehousing and utilities; oil and gas; professional and business services and retail. Construction and manufacturing appeared to be slightly better off than initial estimates showed.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly to 7.2 percent in September, and the comparable U.S. rate was 7.9 percent. Jobs and unemployment insurance claims will be better barometers of the state’s economic health in the coming months than the unemployment rate, which is a complicated measure that relies on statistical modeling and a household survey that has been difficult to conduct during the pandemic. Job losses remain historically large, and claims were more than six times higher than in September 2019.
The same technical issues with the unemployment rate rolled down to Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for boroughs and census areas. Consequently, the September rates suggest more improvement for local economies than their claims and job numbers support.