Small unemployment increases for Alaska

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010

Unemployment rates for both Juneau and Alaska inched up in November, but Juneau's rate moved only slightly and remained among the best in the state.

Juneau's rate in November was 5.8 percent, up from 5.7 percent in October, but down from last November's 6.1 percent.

At the same time, Alaska's rate rose to 7.9 percent, from 7.5 percent in October. It too was below last year's 8.1 percent.

Both sets of numbers were not seasonally adjusted, and unemployment increases are typical in Alaska's seasonal economy. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate showed an increase of only a tenth of a percentage point.

Juneau's unemployment rate remained among the best in the state, topped only by the North Slope Borough's 5.5 percent.

Also noteworthy was the Anchorage rate, 6.4 percent, unchanged from the previous month. The state's largest city was one of the few that did not see an increase in unemployment.

The state's highest unemployment rate was in Skagway, at 26.0 percent, followed by the Denali Borough. State Labor Economist Neil Fried noted that those two communities are highly dependent on tourism, which leads to dramatic seasonal swings.

Other Southeast rates were Sitka at 6.6 percent, Ketchikan at 8.2 percent, Haines at 10.1 percent, Wrangell-Petersburg at 10.4 percent, Yakutat at 12.7 percent, Prince of Wales Island at 14.3 percent and Hoonah-Angoon at 19.3 percent.

The state gained 3,800 jobs over the last year, with job categories seeing increases including a substantial increase in health care and smaller increases in education, retail trade and accommodations. Government was unchanged over the last year.

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



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