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Little change in Alaska unemployment

State and nation see numbers trending better By PAT FORGEY

Posted: January 22, 2012 - 12:15am

Alaska’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in December, but was still below where it was a year ago, in seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers for the month released Friday.

The rates for Juneau, which were not seasonally adjusted, rose a tenth of a percent but were well below the year-ago number.

Juneau’s rate of 5.0 percent for December was up a tenth of a percent from November, but was well below the 5.8 percent it posted in December of 2010.

The Juneau labor force was much larger, and the number of unemployed in the capital city was much lower, than in the same month a year ago and the economy continues to strengthen.

Alaska’s statewide unemployment rate is not improving as much as the nation’s, but for the last three years it has been significantly lower than the nation’s as the worst of the recession missed Alaska.

Around Alaska non-seasonally adjusted rates rose almost everywhere, typical for winter.

The two highest rates in the state were in Skagway and the Aleutians East boroughs, tied at 26.5 percent, as tourism and fishing were both in their slow periods.

Other rates around Southeast included Haines at 11.9 percent, Hoonah-Angoon at 21.5 percent, Ketchikan at 8.1 percent, Petersburg at 14.4 percent, Prince of Wales-Hyder at 15.3 percent, Sitka at 6.8 percent, Wrangell at 12.2 percent and Yakutat at 13.0 percent.

Among the industries doing well in Alaska over the year was health care, adding 1,700 jobs, mining and logging at 600, retail trade at 500 and oil and gas at 300 jobs.

Manufacturing, which in Alaska is essentially seafood processing, was down 1,500 jobs, both financial activities and government were down 700 jobs and construction was down 300 jobs.

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

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