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Despite October uptick, Anchorage unemployment still below national rate

Despite October uptick, Anchorage unemployment still below national rate

October unemployment in Anchorage was 4.7 percent, up 0.3 percent from September but still well below the national rate of 7 percent, according to the latest employment report released by the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. and sponsored by First National Bank Alaska. With seven of the past eight months’ rates lower than 5 percent, the 2013 annual rate is expected to be less than five as well. 

“October generally sees a lower rate than September, so the uptick was a bit unusual,” said Bill Popp, AEDC President and CEO. “But despite the rise, the fact that the unemployment rate in Anchorage remains well below both the national and statewide rate is indicative of a strong local economy and a well-employed workforce.” 

The average year-to-date non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Anchorage was 4.9 percent at the end of October, 0.6 percent lower than the 2012 year-to-date average. The total number of unemployed people in Anchorage is estimated at 7,379, 55 less than October 2012. The monthly unemployment rate in the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula Boroughs has decreased 14 and 13 percent respectively from 2012 year-to-date. 

The number of jobs in Anchorage has seen a total net increase of 1,000 jobs so far in 2013, with the private sector growing by 1.5 percent, or 1,840 jobs. Seven of the 10 major job sectors’ October 2013 averages are above the year-to-date monthly average, indicating that the increase in jobs is likely to remain through the year. Government employment declined by 840 jobs so far with losses split between federal and local governments.

The goods producing category, which includes oil and gas, manufacturing and construction, is showing the most growth at 710 more jobs year-to-date than over the same period in 2012. The oil and gas sector is leading the way with a growth rate of 10.22 percent, an increase of 330 jobs since last year at this point.  An increase of jobs was also seen in the construction industry, with October’s estimate of 9,300 jobs the highest October estimate since 2009.  

Services providing jobs totaled 143,200 in October. Of these industries, which include engineering, education, retail, tourism and health care, educational and health services are showing the most growth at an increase of 2.81 percent year-to-date. Accommodation and food service sectors are also seeing growth, indicating a positive trend in the tourism industry.  

The professional and business services sector continues to improve and is up 2.35 percent, or 470 jobs from 2012. The growth in this industry can be directly linked to growth in other industries such as oil and gas, construction and transportation. 

The full employment report is available online.

AEDC is a private, nonprofit membership organization developed in 1987 to encourage growth and to diversify the Anchorage economy. The organization has more than 235 investors, which represent all industries in Anchorage and Alaska. 

See the report on AEDC's website

AEDC press release