Alaska had 37,700 fewer jobs in June compared with a year earlier, with the leisure and hospitality industry taking an especially hard hit amid the continued economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the state labor department reported Friday.
Cancelation of sailings by major cruise lines and restrictions on nonessential travel through Canada have sharply reduced tourism, impacting communities and businesses that rely on outside visitors — and the money they bring with them — during the summer. The leisure and hospitality industry had 13,800 fewer jobs in June than in June 2019, and every major industry last month was down from the prior year, according to the department.
Demand for unemployment benefits remains high, said Lennon Weller, actuary for the state’s unemployment system.
Alaska’s preliminary unemployment rate for June was 12.4%, compared to 12.7% in May. The unemployment rate in June 2019 was 6.2%.
The state previously had reported a 12.9% unemployment rate for April, a figure later revised to 13.5%. Karinne Wiebold, a department economist, said the rate is always preliminary the first month and gets revised as additional information becomes available.