February jobs down 7.0 percent from last February
March 26, 2021
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s February employment was down 7.0 percent from February 2020 — a loss of 22,300 jobs — as the pandemic continued to keep job counts well below year-ago levels.
Leisure and hospitality continued to record the largest losses, with 7,300 fewer jobs than the prior February (-23.3 percent). Oil and gas employment was down 3,900 (-38.2 percent). The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector had 1,800 fewer jobs (-9.0 percent), and job counts in the professional and business services sector and private education and health care were both 1,600 lower (-5.9 and -3.1 percent, respectively).
State government’s job count was up 200 from the previous February, mostly from pandemic-related hires such as contract tracers and staff to process unemployment insurance claims. Federal employment was down 200 from last February, when the 2020 Census was under way. Local government losses were largest (-2,000), primarily in K-12 public education.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained 6.6 percent in February. The comparable U.S. rate dipped slightly, from 6.3 percent to 6.2 percent. As we’ve noted, Alaska’s unemployment rate has been an unreliable and misleading economic indicator during the COVID-affected months. Key inputs that come from a household survey have been harder to conduct and have produced data that are out of sync with job numbers and unemployment insurance claims.
Job losses remain historically large, and unemployment claims during the second week of February were 3.75 times higher than the same week in 2020.