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JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in November, essentially unchanged from October’s revised 6.9 percent. Alaska’s adjusted rate has been trending higher throughout 2016. The comparable national rate was 4.6 percent.
November’s unadjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point, which is a typical seasonal increase.
Unadjusted rates were up in 23 out of 29 boroughs and census areas, following the statewide trend. The largest increase was 4.0 percentage points in Skagway and the Denali Borough, which have busy tourism seasons followed by a dramatic winter slowdown.
Kusilvak Census Area had the highest rate, 16.8 percent, followed by Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area at 16.3 percent. These areas’ rates both declined slightly from October, as did rates in the Bethel and Nome census areas and Northwest Arctic Borough, which are also rural. The North Slope Borough’s rate didn’t change.
The lowest rate was in the Aleutians East Borough at 2.8 percent followed by the Aleutians West Census Area at 4.0 percent. Urban areas’ rates were below the statewide average, which is typical in winter. Juneau was the lowest at 4.5 percent, followed by Anchorage at 5.3 percent and Fairbanks at 5.7 percent.
Preliminary estimates show statewide payroll employment fell by 8,400 jobs, or 2.6 percent, compared to November 2015. The oil and gas industry lost the most at 2,900 jobs, followed by construction and professional and business services, which were also affected by the oil industry slowdown.
Job losses extended beyond natural resource development and included the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which lost 1,500 jobs. Other service industries were also down. Health care was the only source of private sector growth, with 500 more jobs than the previous November.
State government employment was down 1,300 jobs from the prior year, while federal and local job counts grew slightly.
Regional employment estimates for November show the same trends around the state, but the magnitude of job losses varied by an area’s industry mix. The Northern Region sustained the biggest loss at 12.8 percent, or 2,900 jobs. Job loss in other regions ranged from 1 to 2 percent except in the Gulf Coast Region, where employment was essentially flat.