The Alaska job market has ticked upward this summer. In June, the statewide job count was up by 6,400, a 1.9% increase from the same period the previous year, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
One industry that has shown resilience was leisure and hospitality. As the visitor season moved into full swing, the sector added 2,200 jobs, surpassing pre-pandemic employment levels.
Tourists from around the world are taking in Alaska’s natural beauty this year, leading to an expected record-breaking 1.6 million passengers this season.
Various other sectors contributed to job growth. Professional and business services saw an increase of 600 jobs and health care and retail also added 600 jobs each.
With two exceptions, all Alaska industries either grew or remained stable.
The financial services sector and information technology were down by 200 and 100 jobs, respectively. These two sectors have been shedding jobs since the 2000s as automation, artificial intelligence, and technological advancements reduce the need for human labor.
The government sector expanded, with the federal government adding 600 jobs, and local government, which included public schools, up by 500 jobs. State government added 200 jobs, though it still has not reached pre-pandemic levels, the department said. Federal government jobs in Alaska have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, while state and local government jobs have not quite recovered.
According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, all government employment in Alaska totaled 80,400 in June, back to the level it was in July of 2019, as can be seen in this chart from BLS:
Despite the promising job growth, Alaska’s unemployment rate remained an important metric to gauge economic health. In June, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent, which is barely sabove the comparable U.S. rate of 3.6 percent.