Alaska job numbers were up in July but still trailed pre-pandemic levels

JUNEAU – July job numbers in Alaska were up over a year earlier, but few industries have reached their pre-pandemic employment levels, according to a state labor department report released Friday.

Alaska had about 17,700 more jobs last month compared to July 2020, but 30,100 fewer than in July 2019.

Industries such as leisure and hospitality, hit hard last year by restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, posted gains over July 2020. The leisure and hospitality sector had about 5,100 more jobs than a year earlier, retail had 1,600 more and the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector was up 3,600 jobs, the report states.

But those areas lagged July 2019 levels. Leisure and hospitality, for example, had 10,800 fewer jobs last month than in July 2019.

The oil and gas sector, which saw employment fall to its lowest level in decades last year, had fewer jobs last month than a year earlier, the report says. The industry lost more than 4,000 jobs in 2020, and had 3,200 fewer jobs last month than in July 2019, the report says.

“The July estimate of 6,800 jobs, along with small upward revisions to previous months’ numbers, suggests modest signs of recovery in those high-wage jobs,” according to the report.

Jobs in education and health care were up compared to July 2020 and July 2019, the report said.

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