By KIM JARRETT
THE CENTER SQUARE ASSOCIATE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — Alaska employers added 7,100 jobs in February, but the state’s jobless rate remained above the national level, according to a news release from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The 2.4% job increase still was below the 13,500 uptick the state experienced in February 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in February, down from 5.5% in December, the last month statistics were released by the department. The national unemployment rate is 3.8%.
Much of the job growth is in the leisure and hospitality industry, which added 2,600 jobs in February. The numbers are lower than the increase just before the pandemic. In February 2020, 3,300 jobs were added, according to the news release.
Other sectors that experienced an increase were trade, transportation and utilities, which was up by 1,800 jobs. The industry employs the most people in the private sector at 60,500. Almost 78,000 people are employed in government jobs in Alaska, according to data provided by the department. The majority of them work for local governments.
The number of jobs in the oil-and-gas industry increased by 700 over last year to 7,200. The numbers are 3,000 lower than the increase in 2020, according to the news release.
The northern region of the state had the highest unemployment rate at 8.9%, down from 9.7% in February 2021. The second-highest rate was in the southwest region, which was at 8.5% in February, down from 10.3% the same time last year. The Anchorage area unemployment rate was 5%, the lowest in the state.