City's unemployment rate stays among lowest in the state

Alaska, Juneau economies remain strong

Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2009

Both Alaska's and Juneau's unemployment rates fell in April, and the economy in Alaska remains stronger than the nation at large, based on new figures the Alaska Department of Labor released Thursday.

Juneau's unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in April, down from 7.2 percent in March.

That beats the statewide rate of 8.4 percent, also down from March when it was 9.2 percent. There was a net increase of 3,600 jobs in Alaska and 370 in Juneau.

Statewide, 313,900 people were working in April, up 1,000 jobs from a year ago. Only Louisiana, North Dakota and Washington, D.C., also added jobs April to April, a year in which the national economy fell into recession.

Alaska's new jobs were mostly in seasonal industries such as construction and tourism, said Dan Robinson, economist with the Department of Labor. Juneau's numbers were not broken out by industry.

The good news for Juneau was that more people were working in the city, with total employment at 17,572. That's still down from the previous April, however.

Juneau's unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the state, though it was even lower at 4.5 percent a year ago.

Alaska typically adds jobs in the spring, and there's been a stronger-than-usual boost this year. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8 percent from 8.4 percent, bucking the national trend, where the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 8.5 percent to 8.9 percent. Seasonally adjusted figures for Juneau were not available.

Neighboring Southeast communities were not doing as well.

The Haines unemployment rate was 13.4 percent, while in the Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon census area it was 19.6 percent, the highest in Southeast.

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



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