Pandemic causes 12.2 percent job loss in May
June 19, 2020
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s May job count was down 12.2 percent from last May, a loss of 40,900 jobs. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined from a revised rate of 13.5 percent in April to 12.6 percent in May. The comparable U.S rate decreased from 14.7 percent to 13.3 percent.
COVID-19 continued to disrupt businesses across the state, especially gathering places such as schools, bars and restaurants. Schools and universities were closed but still in session online in early May while bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms began to reopen with restrictions.
Every major industry was down from last May. Leisure and hospitality lost the most, numerically and in percent terms, dropping 39.7 percent from May 2019 (-15,300). Health care was down 2,900 jobs due to suspension of nonurgent care. The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector’s job loss (-2,700) was mainly transportation. Retail employment was down 2,600, or 7.2 percent. Local government, which includes public schools, lost 6,200 jobs. State government employment fell by 1,000, with losses in general government and the University of Alaska. With Census 2020 slowing or suspended due to the pandemic, federal government employment declined by 200.
Across the state, not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates also remained high. Anchorage’s rate was 12.3 percent, Fairbanks’ was 10.2 percent and Juneau’s was 10.8 percent — all slightly lower than April.