DATE: October 20, 2000         NO: 01-17

Contact: John Boucher        Phone:  907.465.6036

Contact: Neal Fried        Phone:  907.269.4861

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

 

Summer’s End Nudges Unemployment Upward


September Unemployment for selected areasThe end of Alaska’s summer seafood processing season pushed Alaska’s statewide unemployment upward in September. The statewide rate climbed seven-tenths of a percentage point to 5.0%. The number of unemployed Alaskans increased by nearly 1,800 from August, pushing the total number of unemployed over 16,000. John Boucher, a labor economist with Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the change.

The statewide unemployment rate showed a slight increase when compared to September of 1999. One year ago the unemployment rate was 4.9% and nearly 15,400 Alaskans were unemployed. The corresponding unemployment rate for the U.S. in September was 3.8%.

September’s increase in unemployment was strongly linked to the winding down of two prominent Alaska summer industries–fishing and tourism. Fish processing plants shed more than 4,000 jobs statewide in September as the peak salmon processing season passed. Larger than average increases in unemployment in Kodiak, Wrangell-Petersburg, and some areas in Southwest Alaska were largely attributable to declining fish processing employment. Kodiak was particularly hard hit by a disappointing pollock harvest; unemployment soared from 3.4% in August to 15.4% in September. Tourism-related unemployment increases were noted in the Denali and Kenai Peninsula Boroughs, and the Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area. These hot spots for summer tourism typically experience surges of unemployment as the visitor season winds down.

The lowest unemployment rate in the state was posted in the Haines Borough, where 3.0% of the labor force was unemployed. The state’s highest rate was in the Kodiak Island Borough at 15.4%.

Wage and salary employment statistics showed state and local governments accounting for most of the job gains in September, all of them education-related. Nearly every sector of the economy experienced job losses in September, and the net result was a loss of 6,600 jobs. The manufacturing sector in Alaska’s coastal regions experienced the greatest job losses as seafood processors let go of employees following the peak salmon processing season. 


Labor Force By Region and Census Area

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Sep-00

Aug-00

Sep-99

Sep-00

Aug-00

Sep-99

Sep-00

Aug-00

Sep-99

Sep-00

Aug-00

Sep-99

Alaska Statewide

321,958

327,797

316,197

16,024

14,249

15,409

5

4.3

4.9

305,934

313,548

300,788

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Anchorage/Mat-Su Region

173,596

174,234

169,153

7,115

6,556

7,135

4.1

3.8

4.2

166,481

167,678

162,018

Municipality of Anchorage

142,273

142,461

139,061

5,322

4,877

5,291

3.7

3.4

3.8

136,951

137,584

133,770

Mat-Su Borough

31,323

31,773

30,092

1,793

1,679

1,844

5.7

5.3

6.1

29,530

30,094

28,248

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Gulf Coast Region

34,322

36,048

34,550

2,711

1,786

2,454

7.9

5

7.1

31,611

34,262

32,096

Kenai Peninsula Borough

21,317

23,041

22,244

1,266

1,308

1,885

5.9

5.7

8.5

20,051

21,733

20,359

Kodiak Island Borough

7,918

7,520

7,085

1,216

256

280

15.4

3.4

4

6,702

7,264

6,805

Valdez-Cordova

5,087

5,486

5,220

229

221

288

4.5

4

5.5

4,858

5,265

4,932

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Interior Region

50,035

51,302

49,296

2,300

2,211

2,294

4.6

4.3

4.7

47,735

49,091

47,002

Denali Borough

1,196

1,206

1,179

55

33

56

4.6

2.7

4.7

1,141

1,173

1,123

Fairbanks North Star Borough

44,281

45,427

43,643

1,837

1,778

1,851

4.1

3.9

4.2

42,444

43,649

41,792

Southeast Fairbanks

2,563

2,611

2,479

220

201

172

8.6

7.7

6.9

2,343

2,410

2,307

Yukon-Koyukuk

1,995

2,057

1,995

188

198

215

9.4

9.6

10.8

1,807

1,859

1,780

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Northern Region

8,371

8,224

7,830

900

830

779

10.8

10.1

9.9

7,471

7,394

7,051

Nome

3,128

3,093

2,908

319

313

257

10.2

10.1

8.8

2,809

2,780

2,651

North Slope Borough

3,239

3,157

2,981

354

301

258

10.9

9.5

8.7

2,885

2,856

2,723

Northwest Arctic Borough

2,003

1,975

1,941

226

216

264

11.3

10.9

13.6

1,777

1,759

1,677

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Southeast Region

40,822

42,203

40,672

1,792

1,671

1,769

4.4

4

4.3

39,030

40,532

38,903

Haines Borough

1,181

1,217

1,179

36

28

38

3

2.3

3.2

1,145

1,189

1,141

Juneau Borough

17,945

18,562

17,949

680

633

740

3.8

3.4

4.1

17,265

17,929

17,209

Ketchikan Gateway Borough

7,496

7,741

7,472

366

336

365

4.9

4.3

4.9

7,130

7,405

7,107

Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan

3,348

3,502

3,297

248

282

207

7.4

8.1

6.3

3,100

3,220

3,090

Sitka Borough

4,564

4,736

4,565

146

148

162

3.2

3.1

3.5

4,418

4,588

4,403

Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon

2,355

2,411

2,297

116

85

65

4.9

3.5

2.8

2,239

2,326

2,232

Wrangell-Petersburg

3,610

3,700

3,586

182

140

169

5

3.8

4.7

3,428

3,560

3,417

Yakutat Borough

322

335

326

18

19

23

5.6

5.7

7.1

304

316

303

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Southwest Region

14,811

15,786

14,696

1,206

1,194

979

8.1

7.6

6.7

13,605

14,592

13,717

Aleutians East Borough

1,599

1,673

1,573

64

27

25

4

1.6

1.6

1,535

1,646

1,548

Aleutians West

1,957

2,086

1,954

100

94

81

5.1

4.5

4.1

1,857

1,992

1,873

Bethel

6,190

6,588

6,173

557

546

493

9

8.3

8

5,633

6,042

5,680

Bristol Bay Borough

602

644

599

27

28

20

4.5

4.3

3.3

575

616

579

Dillingham

1,741

1,850

1,757

93

83

96

5.3

4.5

5.5

1,648

1,767

1,661

Lake & Peninsula Borough

593

631

565

51

50

19

8.6

7.9

3.4

542

581

546

Wade Hampton

2,127

2,313

2,074

312

366

244

14.7

15.8

11.8

1,815

1,947

1,830

 

Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment

preliminary

revised

 

Changes from:

Sep-00

Aug-00

Sep-99

Aug-00

Sep-99

Total Nonagricultural Employment

295,300

301,900

292,200

-6,600

3,100

Mining

10,200

10,100

9,300

100

900

Construction

17,000

17,800

16,600

-800

400

Manufacturing

15,500

19,700

17,400

-4,200

-1,900

Transportation, Commun. & Utilities

28,700

29,400

28,200

-700

500

Trade

60,400

62,100

60,000

-1,700

400

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

12,900

13,300

13,000

-400

-100

Services & Misc.

76,100

78,300

73,800

-2,200

2,300

Government

74,500

71,200

73,900

3,300

600

 

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

September 2000:

Alaska 6.3%

U.S. 3.9%

August 2000:

Alaska 5.8%

U.S. 4.1%

September 1999:

Alaska 5.6%

U.S. 4.2%


*Government includes employees of public schools and the University of Alaska.
Benchmark date: March 1999

Source: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section.

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