JUNEAU, Alaska – September employment was up 3.0 percent compared to September of 2021, an increase of 9,500 jobs. Alaska’s economy continues to recover from pandemic losses but remains 13,300 below where we were in September 2019. Nearly all sectors grew over the year, although just a few have returned to pre-pandemic levels.
This summer’s job numbers were bolstered by the return of cruise ships, which drove the state’s strongest employment growth in related sectors. Transportation, combined with the much smaller sectors of utilities and warehousing, was up 13.6 percent (3,000 jobs) from September 2021. The leisure and hospitality sector was up 13.1 percent over the same period (4,500 jobs).
The oil and gas industry was up 500 jobs over the year, and its 7.7 percent growth is one of the largest over-the-year increases, but the industry remains 2,800 below September 2019 levels. Oil and gas employment has been slower to recover than other industries and September’s job count of 7,000 is less than half the industry’s 15,000 jobs in late 2014, before the pandemic or the statewide recession of 2015-2018.
Only a handful of sectors had fewer jobs than last September. State government was down 800, wholesale trade down 100 and the combined sector of private education, healthcare and social assistance was down 600 over the year. Most of the losses in that sector were in social assistance.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in September, down two-tenths of a percentage point from August’s revised rate. The comparable U.S. rate was 3.5 percent, down from 3.7 the month before.