DATE: February 16, 2001      NO: 01-39

CONTACTS: 

Neal Fried 

PHONE:

(907) 269-4861

Rachel Baker

PHONE:

(907) 465-6037

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

Unemployment does its midwinter rise

January Unemployment for Selected Areas

Alaska’s statewide jobless rate rose to 7.8% in January. This was an increase of one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from December’s 6.1% rate. Normal seasonal slowdowns drove the increase. The number of unemployed Alaskans also increased to nearly 25,000, about 5,400 more unemployed than in December. Rachel Baker, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the increase. The comparable national unemployment rate (civilian not seasonally adjusted) in January was 4.7%. 

January is typically the peak month for unemployment in Alaska as seasonal industries reach a mid-winter low point. Although January’s unemployment rate was an increase from the previous month, it remains in the range of relatively low rates recorded since 1998, which indicates that Alaska’s job market remains fairly tight. Before 1998, unemployment rates of nine percent or higher were typical in January. 

Jobless rates moved higher in most areas of the state 1`in January. Unemployment rates were in excess of ten percent in 18 of the 27 areas where these rates are calculated. The one exception to the trend toward higher unemployment was Kodiak, which benefited from Tanner crab, pollock, and cod openings. Kodiak’s unemployment rate fell from 13.3% in December to 11.4% in January.

The seasonal slowdown was also evident in Alaska’s wage and salary employment count. In January, retail trade, services, construction, and government were the largest contributors to the loss of 7,100 jobs. Seafood processing employment provided the only employment boost in January, adding 3,200 jobs, primarily in the Southwest and Gulf Coast regions of the state.

Despite the seasonal employment decline, Alaska’s over-the-year job growth held steady at just over two percent in January. Continued strength in Alaska’s services and oil and gas sectors provided a significant portion of the employment growth. The seafood processing and food store sectors were the most significant negatives in over-the-year growth. Supermarket closures in the Fairbanks, Mat-Su, and Anchorage areas have resulted in a loss of 400 jobs in the food store sector since January 2000. 


Laborforce by Region and Census Area

  Labor Force Unemployment Rate Employment
  01/01 12/00 01/00 01/01 12/00 01/00 01/01 12/00 01/00 01/01 12/00 01/00
                         
Alaska Statewide 321,548 320,588 314,939 24,984 19,547 27,887 7.8 6.1 8.9 296,564 301,041 287,052
                         
Anchorage/Mat-Su Region 178,949 180,474 173,913 10,426 8,385 11,619 5.8 4.6 6.7 168,523 172,089 162,294
Municipality of Anchorage 147,743 148,623 143,918 7,421 6,060 8,368 5.0 4.1 5.8 140,322 142,563 135,550
Mat-Su Borough 31,206 31,851 29,995 3,005 2,325 3,251 9.6 7.3 10.8 28,201 29,526 26,744
                         
Gulf Coast Region 31,913 31,271 32,120 4,086 3,431 4,640 12.8 11.0 14.4 27,827 27,840 27,480
Kenai Peninsula Borough 20,536 19,928 21,006 2,698 2,082 3,391 13.1 10.4 16.1 17,838 17,846 17,615
Kodiak Island Borough 6,514 6,663 6,247 740 886 545 11.4 13.3 8.7 5,774 5,777 5,702
Valdez-Cordova 4,862 4,680 4,866 647 463 704 13.3 9.9 14.5 4,215 4,217 4,162
                         
Interior Region 47,996 49,084 47,564 3,936 3,040 4,586 8.2 6.2 9.6 44,060 46,044 42,978
Denali Borough 1,151 1,169 1,189 148 121 211 12.9 10.4 17.7 1,003 1,048 978
Fairbanks North Star Borough 42,153 43,216 41,686 3,033 2,334 3,526 7.2 5.4 8.5 39,120 40,882 38,160
Southeast Fairbanks 2,592 2,602 2,605 383 294 451 14.8 11.3 17.3 2,209 2,308 2,154
Yukon-Koyukuk 2,101 2,097 2,085 372 291 399 17.7 13.9 19.1 1,729 1,806 1,686
                         
Northern Region 9,475 9,256 8,656 1,030 800 1,017 10.9 8.6 11.7 8,445 8,456 7,639
Nome 3,569 3,508 3,279 403 338 415 11.3 9.6 12.7 3,166 3,170 2,864
North Slope Borough 3,523 3,488 3,244 261 221 293 7.4 6.3 9.0 3,262 3,267 2,951
Northwest Arctic Borough 2,381 2,260 2,133 365 241 309 15.3 10.7 14.5 2,016 2,019 1,824
                         
Southeast Region 37,698 37,733 37,377 3,707 2,577 4,210 9.8 6.8 11.3 33,991 35,156 33,167
Haines Borough 1,220 1,200 1,211 193 138 209 15.8 11.5 17.3 1,027 1,062 1,002
Juneau Borough 15,988 16,331 15,732 924 750 1,033 5.8 4.6 6.6 15,064 15,581 14,699
Ketchikan Gateway Borough 7,268 7,265 7,266 745 518 901 10.3 7.1 12.4 6,523 6,747 6,365
Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan 3,179 3,017 3,256 607 357 746 19.1 11.8 22.9 2,572 2,660 2,510
Sitka Borough 4,056 4,110 3,988 269 193 293 6.6 4.7 7.3 3,787 3,917 3,695
Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon 2,147 2,087 2,105 369 248 370 17.2 11.9 17.6 1,778 1,839 1,735
Wrangell-Petersburg 3,535 3,426 3,522 551 339 610 15.6 9.9 17.3 2,984 3,087 2,912
Yakutat Borough 303 298 297 48 34 48 15.8 11.4 16.2 255 264 249
                         
Southwest Region 15,518 12,770 15,309 1,800 1,313 1,815 11.6 10.3 11.9 13,718 11,457 13,494
Aleutians East Borough 1,642 1,361 1,632 145 111 159 8.8 8.2 9.7 1,497 1,250 1,473
Aleutians West 2,234 1,793 2,179 344 215 320 15.4 12.0 14.7 1,890 1,578 1,859
Bethel 6,382 5,281 6,274 612 462 598 9.6 8.7 9.5 5,770 4,819 5,676
Bristol Bay Borough 524 432 532 70 53 85 13.4 12.3 16.0 454 379 447
Dillingham 1,831 1,509 1,858 159 112 213 8.7 7.4 11.5 1,672 1,397 1,645
Lake & Peninsula Borough 639 525 615 76 55 61 11.9 10.5 9.9 563 470 554
Wade Hampton 2,265 1,868 2,219 394 305 379 17.4 16.3 17.1 1,871 1,563 1,840

Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment 

  P/ R/    Changes From:
  01/01 12/00 01/00 12/00 01/00
Total Nonagricultural Employment 266,600 273,700 261,200 -7,100 5,400
Mining 10,700 11,000 8,900 -300 1,800
Construction 11,300 12,600 11,000 -1,300 300
Manufacturing 10,400 7,700 10,900 2,700 -500
Transportation, Communications. & Utilities 25,100 25,400 24,900 -300 200
Trade 54,000 57,700 53,200 -3,700 800
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 12,300 12,600 12,400 -300 -100
Services & Misc. 69,800 71,400 67,200 -1,600 2,600
Government 73,000 75,300 72,700 -2,300 300

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

January 2001: Alaska 6.1% U.S. 4.2%
December 2000: Alaska 5.9%  U.S. 4.0%
January 2000:   Alaska 7.0% U.S. 4.0%

Benchmark: March 2000 Source: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section.

  • Comparisons between different time periods are not as meaningful as other time series produced by Research and Analysis. 
  • The official definition of unemployment currently in place excludes anyone who has not made an active attempt to find work in the four-week period up to and including the week that includes the 12th of the reference month. Due to the scarcity of employment opportunities in rural Alaska locations, many individuals do not meet the official definition of unemployed because they have not conducted an active job search. These individuals are considered not in the labor force.

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