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Juneau's unemployment rate best in the state

Posted: May 20, 2012 - 12:14am

Juneau’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in April, the lowest in the state.

The Juneau, Alaska and U.S. unemployment rates improved compared to April and the previous March, as the economy continues to strengthen both nationally and locally, said Mali Abrahamson, economist with the Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Research and Analysis Section.

Alaska’s unemployment rate is now down to pre-recession levels, she said. While the U.S. rate had declined “gradually but consistently” in recent months, it still remains above pre-recession levels.

Juneau’s rate continues to do well, dropping during the month to 4.8 percent in April from 5.3 percent in March. It was also below the 5.3 percent last April, as the Juneau workforce expanded and the jobless number declined.

Still, Juneau’s lead in low unemployment rates is also due to good timing. Fishing areas that lead the state during peak seasons are now in a slower period, while tourist areas such as Skagway and Denali Borough have yet to reach their employment peaks.

Alaskans non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell across the state as summer fishing, seafood processing, tourism and construction jobs geared up for the summer.

Rates in all regions but Southwest Alaska fell during the month.

In Southeast, rates fell in every community except Wrangell, where they increased from 8.3 percent in March to 9.6 percent in April.

Other rates were 5.6 percent in Sitka, 7.2 percent in Ketchikan, 9.1 percent in Yakutat, 9.2 percent in Haines, 9.4 percent in Petersburg, 15.0 percent in Prince of Wales Island, 15.4 percent in Skagway, and 20 percent in Hoonah-Angoon.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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