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Jobless rate climbs with end of summer

State's employment level off 3,000 compared to same time last year

Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009

Alaska's unemployment rate rose in October to 8.9 percent, but remained significantly below the U.S. rate, according to the latest Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development figures released last week.

Source: Department Of Labor And Workforce Development, Research And Analysis Section Note: Data Is Seasonally Adjusted
Source: Department Of Labor And Workforce Development, Research And Analysis Section Note: Data Is Seasonally Adjusted

During October, Alaska lost 16,000 jobs as seasonal industries in construction, seafood processing and tourism took their usual decline.

Alaska's employment level of 337,000 workers was off 3,000 compared to the same time last year.

"Although 2009 will almost certainly end the state's 21-year streak of job growth, Alaska's job losses remain significantly less severe than the nation's," said Dan Robinson, state labor economist.

Juneau's nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.5 percent is above the 5 percent from a year ago, and up from the 5.8 percent in September.

The total size of Juneau's workforce was 17,752 during the month, a decline of 452 people. That did not translate into a large increase in the local unemployment rate, however, as many seasonal tourism and other workers are only in Juneau for their job and leave after it ends. The number of unemployed in Juneau only increased by about 100, to 1,158, in October.

Juneau's unemployment rate was below the state's nonseasonally adjusted rate of 8.3 percent, and among the lowest in the state.

Other Southeast communities were mostly far higher, though Yakutat was only 6.7 percent, Sitka was 7.3 percent and Ketchikan was 7.9 percent. Most of Southeast was in double digits, however, with Haines at 10.2 percent, Wrangell-Petersburg at 11.2 percent, Prince of Wales Island was 14.7 percent and the Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area at 18.7 percent.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgeyat patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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