May 18, 2000             No: 00-49

Contact: John Boucher        Phone:  907.465.6036

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

 

Alaska Unemployment Declines Further in April
April Statewide Jobless Rate 6.6%

Alaskaís statewide unemployment moved lower in April, dropping three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.6%. The decline in unemployment placed Aprilís rate as the second-lowest statewide unemployment rate for April since 1978. Almost 20,900 Alaskans were unemployed in April, nearly 900 fewer than in March. John Boucher, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the drop. Last April, Alaskaís unemployment rate was 6.7% and there were 20,600 unemployed Alaskans.

The comparable national unemployment rate (civilian not seasonally adjusted) in April was 3.7%. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the national unemployment rate was 3.9%; this was the first time in over three decades that the national rate dipped below the four-percent mark. January 1970 was the last time the nationís unemployment rate was that low.

Alaskaís urban areas led the way in Aprilís jobless statistics. Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau all had unemployment rates below the statewide average, while the Kenai and Matanuska-Susitna Boroughs both posted drops in their unemployment rates. Unemployment rates fell as urban areas of Alaska began gearing up for the construction and tourism seasons. "Construction, manufacturing and transportation led a drop of more than seven percent in unemployment insurance weeks claimed compared to March," Boucher said.

While Alaskaís most populous areas experienced relatively low unemployment rates, rural Alaska continued to show high rates of unemployment. Of the twenty-seven geographic areas where unemployment is measured, thirteen had unemployment rates in excess of ten percent. The highest unemployment rates in the state were in the Wade Hampton census area at 18.2% and the Yukon-Koyukuk census area at 17.3%. The lowest rate was in the Aleutians East Borough at 2.7%.

Accompanying Aprilís decline in unemployment was a statewide increase of 6,200 wage and salary jobs. Every major sector of Alaskaís economy except mining added jobs last month. Seasonal gains in construction, trade, services and transportation characterized the stateís job growth in April. Manufacturing employment got an unusual surge in seafood processing employment as the delayed opilio crab harvest began. Servicesí industry job growth was broad-based while tradeís was largely additional jobs in eating and drinking places. Federal government employment dropped from Marchís unusually high level. This was attributed to a decline in the temporary federal workforce added for the 2000 Census.

Labor Force By Region and Census Area

 

 

 

Labor Force Unemployment Rate Employment

Apr-00

Mar-00

Apr-99

Apr-00

Mar-00

Apr-99

Apr-00

Mar-00

Apr-99

Apr-00

Mar-00

Apr-99

Alaska Statewide

314,798

314,168

308,236

20,884

21,771

20,642

6.6

6.9

6.7

293,914

292,397

287,594

Anchorage/Mat-Su Region

172,288

172,957

167,363

9,128

9,394

9,016

5.3

5.4

5.4

163,160

163,563

158,347

Municipality of Anchorage

141,987

142,518

138,904

6,587

6,761

6,520

4.6

4.7

4.7

135,400

135,757

132,384

Mat-Su Borough

30,301

30,439

28,459

2,541

2,633

2,496

8.4

8.7

8.8

27,760

27,806

25,963

Gulf Coast Region

32,513

32,212

32,604

3,223

3,409

3,392

9.9

10.6

10.4

29,290

28,803

29,212

Kenai Peninsula Borough

20,901

20,832

21,048

2,322

2,562

2,519

11.1

12.3

12

18,579

18,270

18,529

Kodiak Island Borough

6,636

6,471

6,599

426

364

405

6.4

5.6

6.1

6,210

6,107

6,194

Valdez-Cordova

4,976

4,909

4,957

475

483

468

9.5

9.8

9.4

4,501

4,426

4,489

Interior Region

48,838

48,072

48,026

3,470

3,629

3,338

7.1

7.5

7

45,368

44,443

44,688

Denali Borough

1,207

1,211

1,170

123

149

102

10.2

12.3

8.7

1,084

1,062

1,068

Fairbanks North Star Borough

43,042

42,357

42,360

2,703

2,840

2,626

6.3

6.7

6.2

40,339

39,517

39,734

Southeast Fairbanks

2,512

2,489

2,470

285

308

277

11.3

12.4

11.2

2,227

2,181

2,193

Yukon-Koyukuk

2,077

2,015

2,025

359

332

333

17.3

16.5

16.4

1,718

1,683

1,692

Northern Region

8,527

8,768

8,541

933

894

868

10.9

10.2

10.2

7,594

7,874

7,673

Nome

3,251

3,339

3,268

396

379

383

12.2

11.4

11.7

2,855

2,960

2,885

North Slope Borough

3,191

3,296

3,185

258

255

222

8.1

7.7

7

2,933

3,041

2,963

Northwest Arctic Borough

2,085

2,132

2,088

279

259

263

13.4

12.1

12.6

1,806

1,873

1,825

Southeast Region

37,911

37,301

37,791

2,678

3,021

2,755

7.1

8.1

7.3

35,233

34,280

35,036

Haines Borough

1,169

1,184

1,217

135

178

189

11.5

15

15.5

1,034

1,006

1,028

Juneau Borough

16,317

16,008

16,315

732

844

817

4.5

5.3

5

15,585

15,164

15,498

Ketchikan Gateway Borough

7,042

6,924

6,990

605

661

589

8.6

9.5

8.4

6,437

6,263

6,401

Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan

3,254

3,247

3,242

455

524

459

14

16.1

14.2

2,799

2,723

2,783

Sitka Borough

4,193

4,081

4,173

205

201

207

4.9

4.9

5

3,988

3,880

3,966

Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon

2,173

2,177

2,158

151

210

148

6.9

9.6

6.9

2,022

1,967

2,010

Wrangell-Petersburg

3,447

3,377

3,402

353

366

325

10.2

10.8

9.6

3,094

3,011

3,077

Yakutat Borough

316

303

293

41

36

20

13

11.9

6.8

275

267

273

Southwest Region

14,721

14,858

13,912

1,452

1,424

1,274

9.9

9.6

9.2

13,269

13,434

12,638

Aleutians East Borough

1,538

1,566

1,465

41

50

39

2.7

3.2

2.7

1,497

1,516

1,426

Aleutians West

1,927

1,975

1,834

115

141

109

6

7.1

5.9

1,812

1,834

1,725

Bethel

6,090

6,122

5,747

596

559

514

9.8

9.1

8.9

5,494

5,563

5,233

Bristol Bay Borough

631

643

591

71

76

57

11.3

11.8

9.6

560

567

534

Dillingham

1,783

1,793

1,682

176

166

152

9.9

9.3

9

1,607

1,627

1,530

Lake & Peninsula Borough

588

594

556

60

59

53

10.2

9.9

9.5

528

535

503

Wade Hampton

2,163

2,164

2,035

393

372

349

18.2

17.2

17.1

1,770

1,792

1,686

Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment

preliminary

revised

 

Changes from:

Apr-00

Mar-00

Apr-99

Mar-00

Apr-99

Total Nonagricultural Employment

275,500

269,300

270,100

6,200

5,400

Mining

9,500

9,600

9,600

-100

-100

Construction

12,500

11,400

12,200

1,100

300

Manufacturing

13,200

12,200

12,700

1,000

500

Transportation, Commun. & Utilities

25,700

25,100

24,500

600

1,200

Trade

55,600

54,000

55,000

1,600

600

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

12,600

12,600

12,500

0

100

Services & Misc.

70,300

68,800

68,000

1,500

2,300

Government

76,100

75,600

75,600

500

500

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