November jobless rate holds steady in Alaska

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2001

Alaska's unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent in November, the same as October, state economists report. The November rate is lower than the 6.1 percent for the same month in 2000.

Unemployment generally rises in Alaska from October to November as seasonal employers, particularly fish processors, wind down. Over the last 20 years, November's average jobless rate is 8.2 percent.

The comparable national unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.3 percent, up substantially from the national 3.8 percent figure in November 2000.

The state's low November unemployment rate is another indication that Alaska's economy has been relatively unaffected by the national recession, said Dan Robinson, a labor economist with the state Department of Labor.

"These numbers underline that Alaska's economy often follows different trends than the country as a whole," Robinson said.

Regional rates generally followed seasonal trends.

Juneau's unemployment rate dropped five-tenths of a percentage point to 4.3 percent.

Kodiak, heavily dependent on fishing and processing, had a jobless rate of 12.8 percent in November, up from 7.2 percent in October. Fairbanks had a slight increase to 5.1 percent from 5.0 percent.

But in Anchorage, the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent, the lowest rate in the state.

The Wade Hampton Census Area once again had the state's highest rate of unemployment at 13.9 percent, but that was down from October's 16.2 percent.

Preliminary estimates show wage and salary employment declined by nearly 9,000 jobs in November from the month before. That was 1.7 percent higher than the figure a year earlier. The gains came mostly in service industries and construction, the department said.

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