Anchorage lost about 1,100 jobs from May 2015 to May 2016, according to new employment figures.
The Anchorage unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 5.3 percent in May, the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. said in a report released Wednesday. That number is unchanged from April, but up from 4.9 percent in May 2015. The AEDC uses preliminary estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The AEDC earlier this year predicted that Anchorage would lose about 1,600 jobs, which would be a decline of about 1 percent from 2015.
Oil and gas jobs in Anchorage declined by 400 from May 2015 to last month, amounting to a more than 10 percent drop. Jobs in the construction sector were down by 500.
"Anchorage is seeing tighter times than we've enjoyed for the past few years," said AEDC president and CEO Bill Popp in a statement. "However, we are staying on track with the most recent economic forecast so this has all been expected. We do have some good news with oil prices hitting the $50 per barrel mark, which could hint at some balance being reached in the near future."
The employment data show that the state as a whole lost 2,100 oil and gas jobs between May 2015 and last month.
State government jobs in Anchorage dropped by 300 during that time frame, and federal government jobs increased by 300.
The year-to-date average from January to May shows a loss of 500 jobs so far this year, compared with the same time period last year. This year-to-date calculation is what AEDC used to predict the 1,600 job loss.
Health care is growing, with 1,000 more jobs in Anchorage last month than May of last year, based on that preliminary data. The AEDC's report notes that "it is unclear what has driven this sudden significant jump in health care employment and may be a data anomaly."