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Business/Economy

Alaska unemployment rate increased slightly again in June

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: July 21, 2017
  • Published July 21, 2017

Alaska's unemployment rate ticked up again last month, though it appears job losses might be easing.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June was 6.8 percent, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Friday. That's up slightly from May's rate of 6.7 percent, and also up from 6.7 percent in June last year.

The state was down 5,500 jobs last month compared to the same time in 2016, according to estimates from the Labor Department. That's a decline of about 1.6 percent. State government led the losses with a drop of 1,500 jobs. The sectors with the next greatest declines were construction, which lost 1,400 jobs, and oil and gas, which lost 1,300.

Health care, leisure and hospitality, and federal and local government were the only sectors to add jobs.

The estimates also suggest job losses are tapering a bit.

The trend seems to be that we’re losing fewer jobs,” said Karinne Wiebold, a state economist with the Labor Department. “The year-over-year losses are just a little smaller.”

Alaska again had the highest unemployment rate in the country last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Mexico had the next highest, with 6.4 percent.

Even when Alaska's economy is healthy, the state typically has one of the higher unemployment rates in the U.S., state economist Neal Fried said last month. Nationally, the unemployment rate last month was 4.4 percent.

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