Alaska added thousands of jobs in February, as the state’s improving unemployment rate shows the impact of the national recession almost completely dissipated in the state.
Unemployment data released Friday by the Department of Labor & Workforce Development showed Alaska with a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.1 percent, down a tenth of a percent from January.
State labor economist Alyssa Shanks called that “essentially unchanged” for the month, but it was down markedly from its year-ago rate of 7.7 percent.
Alaska’s unemployment rate is now back down to its 10-year average unemployment rate, after peaking in 2009 at the height of the national recession.
The U.S. rate remains well above its 10-year average, Shanks said, which is typically below the Alaska rate.
“While the U.S. rate remains significantly higher than its 10-year average, Alaska’s rate is right at its 10-year average,” Shanks said.
The Alaska labor force has continued to grow, with the workforce growing strongly as well
Juneau’s non-seasonally adjusted rate of 5.5 percent was up a tenth of a percent for the month, and is down from 6.2 percent a year ago.
Juneau’s unemployment rate is remains among the best in the state, much less than the comparable statewide non-seasonally adjusted rate of 8 percent.
The only lower unemployment rate than Juneau’s was in the Aleutians West Borough, where fish processing began in earnest.
The Aleutians West Census Area has the state’s lowest rate at 5.0 percent, while the North Slope Borough was tied with Juneau for the second lowest rates at 5.5 percent.
Key job drivers during the month were manufacturing, with seasonal seafood processing adding 1,500 jobs during the month, and oil and gas, which added 700 jobs, driving the state’s lowest unemployment rates.
Other Southeast rates were Sitka at 6.9 percent, Ketchikan at 9.2 percent, Wrangell at 11.7 percent, Haines at 12.7 percent, Petersburg at 13.0 percent, Prince of Wales Island at 19.6 percent, Hoonah-Angoon at 26.2 percent and Skagway at 27.7 percent.
The two Southeast areas with the highest rates were also the highest two rates in the state.
• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.