DATE: March 16, 2001      NO: 01-44

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Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

Unemployment decreases a little

February Unemployment for Selected Areas

Alaska's statewide unemployment rate decreased slightly to 7.5% in February from the 7.8% rate recorded in January. The statewide unemployment rate is typically fairly stable in February, as Alaska's economy nears the end of the winter season. The number of jobless Alaskans fell to just over 24,000 in February, a decrease of about 800 from January. The comparable national unemployment rate for February was 4.6%. Rachel Baker, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the statistics.

In several areas, openings in Alaska's winter fisheries contributed to significant declines in February unemployment rates. Bottomfish openings, primarily pollock, put many seafood processing workers back to work in the Gulf Coast and Southwest regions of the state. Kodiak's unemployment rate dropped from 11.4% in January to 6.2% in February, and the Aleutians East Borough rate fell from 8.9% to 3.6%. The opilio crab harvest also affected the unemployment rate in the Aleutians West Borough. February's rate was 6.4%, compared with 7.9% one year ago, when the opilio crab harvest was postponed for several months.

The Northern region was the only area with an over-the-month increase in the February unemployment rate. North Slope oil field activity slowed a bit during the month, which is fairly typical for February, and contributed to the increased rate. The highest unemployment rate in the state was 18.3% in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area. The lowest rate was 3.6% in the Aleutians East Borough.

Accompanying the decrease in the February unemployment rate was a gain of 6,500 wage and salary jobs. Seafood processors were the largest job gainers, but construction, transportation, services and the public sector all added jobs as well. A small broad-based job expansion is typical in February as many industries begin rebounding from mid-winter low points.


Labor force by Region and Census Area

Labor Force Unemployment Rate Employment
02/01 01/01 02/00 02/01 01/01 02/00 02/01 01/01 02/00 02/01 01/01 02/00
Alaska Statewide 322,082 321,524 316,037 24,132 24,960 28,124 7.5 7.8 8.9 297,950 296,564 287,913
Anchorage/
Mat-Su Region
177,145 178,894 172,281 10,187 10,415 11,935 5.8 5.8 6.9 166,958 168,479 160,346
Municipality
of Anchorage
145,829 147,655 142,488 7,207 7,413 8,605 4.9 5.0 6.0 138,622 140,242 133,883
Mat-Su Borough 31,316 31,239 29,793 2,980 3,002 3,330 9.5 9.6 11.2 28,336 28,237 26,463
Gulf Coast Region 32,710 31,911 32,847 3,876 4,081 4,445 11.8 12.8 13.5 28,834 27,830 28,402
Kenai Peninsula
Borough
21,236 20,535 21,622 2,753 2,695 3,416 13.0 13.1 15.8 18,483 17,840 18,206
Kodiak Island
Borough
6,379 6,515 6,315 396 740 421 6.2 11.4 6.7 5,983 5,775 5,894
Valdez-Cordova 5,094 4,862 4,910 727 647 608 14.3 13.3 12.4 4,367 4,215 4,302
Interior Region 48,298 47,944 47,915 3,893 3,932 4,607 8.1 8.2 9.6 44,405 44,012 43,308
Denali Borough 1,147 1,149 1,180 137 147 194 11.9 12.8 16.4 1,010 1,002 986
Fairbanks North
Star Borough
42,442 42,108 42,001 3,015 3,030 3,548 7.1 7.2 8.4 39,427 39,078 38,453
Southeast 
Fairbanks
2,576 2,589 2,590 350 383 419 13.6 14.8 16.2 2,226 2,206 2,171
Yukon-Koyukuk 2,133 2,099 2,145 391 372 446 18.3 17.7 20.8 1,742 1,727 1,699
Northern Region 9,405 9,465 8,825 1,091 1,029 1,092 11.6 10.9 12.4 8,314 8,436 7,733
Nome 3,550 3,566 3,352 433 403 453 12.2 11.3 13.5 3,117 3,163 2,899
North Slope
Borough
3,486 3,520 3,299 274 261 312 7.9 7.4 9.5 3,212 3,259 2,987
Northwest
Arctic Borough
2,369 2,379 2,173 384 365 327 16.2 15.3 15.0 1,985 2,014 1,846
Southeast Region 38,041 37,834 38,120 3,430 3,705 4,321 9.0 9.8 11.3 34,611 34,129 33,799
Haines Borough 1,244 1,224 1,225 199 193 204 16.0 15.8 16.7 1,045 1,031 1,021
Juneau Borough 16,290 16,049 16,094 951 924 1,115 5.8 5.8 6.9 15,339 15,125 14,979
Ketchikan Gateway Borough 7,335 7,295 7,409 693 745 922 9.4 10.2 12.4 6,642 6,550 6,487
Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan 3,180 3,189 3,375 561 606 817 17.6 19.0 24.2 2,619 2,583 2,558
Sitka Borough 4,123 4,071 4,069 267 269 303 6.5 6.6 7.4 3,856 3,802 3,766
Skagway-Hoonah
-Angoon
2,114 2,154 2,104 304 369 336 14.4 17.1 16.0 1,810 1,785 1,768
Wrangell-
Petersburg
3,452 3,547 3,538 413 551 571 12.0 15.5 16.1 3,039 2,996 2,967
Yakutat Borough 304 304 306 44 48 52 14.5 15.8 17.0 260 256 254
Southwest Region 16,482 15,474 16,050 1,655 1,798 1,725 10.0 11.6 10.7 14,827 13,676 14,325
Aleutians East Borough 1,679 1,638 1,631 61 145 67 3.6 8.9 4.1 1,618 1,493 1,564
Aleutians West 2,183 2,227 2,144 140 343 170 6.4 15.4 7.9 2,043 1,884 1,974
Bethel 6,881 6,364 6,687 644 611 661 9.4 9.6 9.9 6,237 5,753 6,026
Bristol Bay Borough 566 523 573 75 70 99 13.3 13.4 17.3 491 453 474
Dillingham 2,006 1,826 1,965 198 159 219 9.9 8.7 11.1 1,808 1,667 1,746
Lake & Peninsula Borough 707 637 654 99 76 66 14.0 11.9 10.1 608 561 588
Wade Hampton 2,460 2,258 2,397 438 393 443 17.8 17.4 18.5 2,022 1,865 1,954

Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment 

  Preliminary Revised    Changes From:
   02/01 01/01 02/00 01/01 02/00 
Total Nonagricultural Employment 273,600  267,100 268,000 6,500 5,600 
Mining 10,800  10,700  9,500  100  1,300 
Construction 11,600  11,300  11,400  300   200
Manufacturing 13,500  10,400  13,600  3,100   -100
Transportation, Communications. & Utilities 25,200  25,100  25,300  100   -100
Trade 53,700  54,000  53,100  -300   600
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 12,400  12,400  12,400   0
Services & Misc. 70,900  70,100  68,200  800   2,700
Government 75,500  73,100  74,500  2,400   1,000

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

 February 2001:  Alaska 5.8%  U.S. 4.2%
 January 2001:  Alaska 6.1%  U.S. 4.2%
 February 2000:  Alaska 6.9%  U.S. 4.1%

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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