DATE: November 17, 2000         NO: 01-23

Contact: Rachel Baker       Phone:  907.465.6037
Contact: Neal Fried        Phone:  907.269.4861

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

Alaska Unemployment Edges Upward

Graph - Alaska Unemployment for selected areas in OctoberAlaska’s statewide unemployment rate increased nearly one-half of one percentage point from 5.0% in September to 5.5% in October. More than 17,700 Alaskans were unemployed in October, an increase of nearly 1,700 from September. In October, 1999, the unemployment rate was 5.7% and the number of jobless Alaskans was near 17,900. The comparable national unemployment rate (civilian not seasonally adjusted) in October was 3.6%. John Boucher, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the increase.

The unemployment rate in most areas of the state moved in concert with the statewide unemployment rate, but rural Alaska generally experienced larger increases. "Rural Alaska tends to rely on seasonal industries such as fishing and tourism for employment opportunities," Boucher said. "When summer ends, it generally means higher unemployment rates in rural Alaska."

The most dramatic changes in unemployment rates in October were in boroughs where the visitor and/or fishing industries play key roles. "The Denali Borough’s unemployment rate increased from 4.6% in September to 9.9% in October, as visitor activity around Denali National Park shut down for the winter," Boucher said. In the Haines Borough the unemployment rate more than doubled, increasing from 3.1% in September to 7.4% in October as seafood processing and tourism-related activity slowed. The lowest unemployment rate in the state was in the Aleutians East Borough at 3.7%, and the state’s highest unemployment rate was 14.8% in the Wade Hampton Census Area.

Alaska’s wage and salary job count began a broad, steep, seasonal decline in October. Over-the-month job losses totaled 11,700. With the exception of government and the finance sector, all of the state’s major industries lost ground in October. The seafood processing industry led October’s job loss, followed by tourism-related jobs at hotels, eating and drinking establishments, and transportation firms. The construction industry’s job count dwindled as road-building activity slowed with the onset of colder weather. Government’s employment numbers increased slightly because the public education sector continued staffing up for the school year.

 


Labor Force By Region and Census Area

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

10/00

9/00

10/99

10/00

9/00

10/99

10/00

9/00

10/99

10/00

9/00

10/99

Alaska Statewide

319,965

321,961

315,305

17,706

16,027

17,878

5.5

5.0

5.7

302,259

305,934

297,427

Anchorage/Mat-Su Region

176,531

173,661

173,001

7,800

7,118

8,063

4.4

4.1

4.7

168,731

166,543

164,938

Municipality of Anchorage

144,889

142,342

142,302

5,760

5,324

6,003

4.0

3.7

4.2

139,129

137,018

136,299

Mat-Su Borough

31,642

31,319

30,699

2,040

1,794

2,060

6.4

5.7

6.7

29,602

29,525

28,639

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Gulf Coast Region

32,530

34,330

32,817

2,860

2,711

3,024

8.8

7.9

9.2

29,670

31,619

29,793

Kenai Peninsula Borough

20,558

21,322

21,096

1,738

1,266

2,198

8.5

5.9

10.4

18,820

20,056

18,898

Kodiak Island Borough

6,969

7,920

6,642

678

1,216

325

9.7

15.4

4.9

6,291

6,704

6,317

Valdez-Cordova

5,003

5,088

5,079

444

229

501

8.9

4.5

9.9

4,559

4,859

4,578

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Interior Region

49,766

50,192

49,329

2,804

2,302

2,819

5.6

4.6

5.7

46,962

47,890

46,510

Denali Borough

1,245

1,200

1,232

123

55

120

9.9

4.6

9.7

1,122

1,145

1,112

Fairbanks North Star Borough

43,926

44,420

43,613

2,170

1,839

2,259

4.9

4.1

5.2

41,756

42,581

41,354

Southeast Fairbanks

2,587

2,571

2,519

282

220

236

10.9

8.6

9.4

2,305

2,351

2,283

Yukon-Koyukuk

2,007

2,001

1,965

229

188

204

11.4

9.4

10.4

1,778

1,813

1,761

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Northern Region

8,531

8,359

8,058

855

900

781

10.0

10.8

9.7

7,676

7,459

7,277

Nome

3,187

3,123

3,011

301

319

275

9.4

10.2

9.1

2,886

2,804

2,736

North Slope Borough

3,275

3,235

3,063

311

354

253

9.5

10.9

8.3

2,964

2,881

2,810

Northwest Arctic Borough

2,070

2,000

1,984

244

226

253

11.8

11.3

12.8

1,826

1,774

1,731

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Southeast Region

38,382

40,676

38,404

2,191

1,791

2,156

5.7

4.4

5.6

36,191

38,885

36,248

Haines Borough

1,147

1,177

1,169

85

36

106

7.4

3.1

9.1

1,062

1,141

1,063

Juneau Borough

16,775

17,881

16,864

766

680

830

4.6

3.8

4.9

16,009

17,201

16,034

Ketchikan Gateway Borough

7,075

7,470

7,063

463

366

441

6.5

4.9

6.2

6,612

7,104

6,622

Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan

3,157

3,337

3,120

282

248

241

8.9

7.4

7.7

2,875

3,089

2,879

Sitka Borough

4,261

4,547

4,311

165

146

208

3.9

3.2

4.8

4,096

4,401

4,103

Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon

2,272

2,347

2,177

195

116

97

8.6

4.9

4.5

2,077

2,231

2,080

Wrangell-Petersburg

3,393

3,597

3,404

214

182

220

6.3

5.1

6.5

3,179

3,415

3,184

Yakutat Borough

303

321

296

21

18

13

6.9

5.6

4.4

282

303

283

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

Southwest Region

14,224

14,742

13,697

1,196

1,205

1,036

8.4

8.2

7.6

13,028

13,537

12,661

Aleutians East Borough

1,526

1,591

1,495

56

64

67

3.7

4.0

4.5

1,470

1,527

1,428

Aleutians West

1,921

1,948

1,827

142

100

98

7.4

5.1

5.4

1,779

1,848

1,729

Bethel

5,908

6,161

5,707

514

556

464

8.7

9.0

8.1

5,394

5,605

5,243

Bristol Bay Borough

586

599

577

36

27

42

6.1

4.5

7.3

550

572

535

Dillingham

1,667

1,732

1,646

89

93

113

5.3

5.4

6.9

1,578

1,639

1,533

Lake & Peninsula Borough

576

590

525

57

51

21

9.9

8.6

4.0

519

539

504

Wade Hampton

2,040

2,118

1,920

302

312

231

14.8

14.7

12.0

1,738

1,806

1,689

 


Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment

P/

R/

CHANGES FROM:

10/00

9/00

10/99

9/00

10/99

Total Nonagricultural Employment

283,300

295,000

279,000

-11,700

4,300

Mining

10,100

10,200

9,400

-100

700

Construction

15,800

17,000

15,500

-1,200

300

Manufacturing

11,800

15,400

12,300

-3,600

-500

Transportation, Commun. & Utilities

27,000

28,600

26,500

-1,600

500

Trade

57,400

60,400

57,000

-3,000

400

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

12,900

12,800

13,000

100

-100

Services & Misc.

72,700

76,000

70,300

-3,300

2,400

Government

75,600

74,600

75,000

1,000

600

 


Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

October 2000 Alaska 6.0% U.S. 3.9%
Sept. 2000 Alaska 6.3% U.S. 3.9%
October 1999 Alaska 5.7% U.S. 4.1%

 


*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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