April’s job count was up 6.9 percent from April of 2020, an increase of 19,100 but still 25,200 below April 2019 levels. April’s numbers are significant because they mark the first time the year-ago comparisons are to a month that had COVID-related losses. In April, Alaska had recovered about 40 percent of those lost jobs.
Most industries’ employment was up from April 2020. The industries that recovered the largest numbers of jobs were those that took the biggest hit last spring. Leisure and hospitality regained 6,300 jobs but remained far below pre-pandemic levels, having shed 14,700 from year-ago levels when the pandemic first hit.
Health care, which was up 2,900 jobs from year-ago levels, was the only private-sector industry that had fully recovered to April 2019 levels. Oil and gas, on the other hand, was the only sector with far fewer jobs this April than last April. The state’s 6,000 oil and gas jobs were 2,600 below year-ago levels, and 3,900 below April 2019.
Local government’s job count was 2,000 higher than last April, and state government was up 1,200. Federal government lost 500 jobs, a trend that will likely continue this year because the 2020 Census temporarily boosted last year’s federal employment.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained 6.7 percent in April. The comparable U.S. rate increased from 6.0 percent to 6.1 percent.