News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DATE: July 16, 1999 CONTACT: Neal Fried
NO: 00-03 John Boucher

June Unemployment Rate 6.0%

Alaska’s statewide unemployment rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point in June to 6.0%. The number of unemployed Alaskans fell below 19,600, 700 fewer than in May.  John Boucher, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the drop in unemployment. The statewide jobless rate remained slightly above last year’s level but was the second-lowest rate posted for June in the last 20 years. In June 1998, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.8% and nearly 18,900 Alaskans were unemployed.  The comparable national unemployment rate in June was 4.5% (civilian not seasonally adjusted).

Many areas of Alaska saw relatively small changes in unemployment in June. Those that experienced sharper drops in unemployment tended to be areas dependent on fishing and/or tourism for summer job generation. Many of Alaska’s coastal areas either posted low rates or showed marked improvement. Kodiak, for example, saw its unemployment rate drop from 13.3% to 4.9% due to fishing activity. The Denali Borough, where unemployment dropped from 6.3% to 2.9% over the month, is a good example of an area rate positively influenced by the visitor industry. The lowest unemployment rate in the state was in the Aleutians East Borough at 2.4%. The highest rate was in the Wade Hampton Census Area, which had an unemployment rate of 17.2%.

Accompanying the drop in Alaska’s jobless rate, 8,200 wage and salary jobs were added to the state’s economy in June. “The biggest contributor to the June job increase was Alaska’s visitor industry,” Boucher said. “Hotels and lodges, retailers, passenger transportation firms and amusement and recreation services all added employees in June.” Most of the rest of the job gains were accounted for by increased construction activity or seafood processors gearing up for the peak salmon-processing season. Local government employment dropped 3,200 jobs from May to June as seasonal employees of local school districts were let go for the summer vacation. June statistics marked the transfer of the Anchorage Telephone Utility from the public to private sector. More than 700 jobs moved from local government employment to transportation, communications and utilities employment as the result of the change in ownership.
 
 

Labor Force by Region and Census Area
 
  Labor Force Unemployment Rate Employment
                         
  6/99 5/99 6/98 6/99 5/99 6/98 6/99 5/99 6/98 6/99 5/99 6/98
                         
Alaska Statewide 325,938 317,391 327,201 19,569 20,288 18,884 6.0 6.4 5.8 306,369 297,103 308,317
                         
Anchorage/Mat-Su Region 174,950 171,115 173,662 8,712 8,736 8,181 5.0 5.1 4.7 166,238 162,379 165,481
Municipality of Anchorage 143,319 140,809 142,915 6,264 6,306 6,065 4.4 4.5 4.2 137,055 134,503 136,850
Mat-Su Borough 31,631 30,306 30,747 2,448 2,430 2,116 7.7 8.0 6.9 29,183 27,876 28,631
                         
Gulf Coast Region 36,411 33,904 36,924 2,901 3,535 2,837 8.0 10.4 7.7 33,510 30,369 34,087
Kenai Peninsula Borough 23,151 21,201 23,475 2,113 2,135 2,075 9.1 10.1 8.8 21,038 19,066 21,400
Kodiak Island Borough 7,639 7,595 7,789 371 1,008 396 4.9 13.3 5.1 7,268 6,587 7,393
Valdez-Cordova 5,622 5,109 5,660 417 392 366 7.4 7.7 6.5 5,205 4,717 5,294
                         
Interior Region 51,129 50,242 51,454 3,020 3,207 2,950 5.9 6.4 5.7 48,109 47,035 48,504
Denali Borough 1,208 1,224 1,233 35 77 50 2.9 6.3 4.1 1,173 1,147 1,183
Fairbanks North Star Borough 45,315 44,399 45,607 2,527 2,567 2,468 5.6 5.8 5.4 42,788 41,832 43,139
Southeast Fairbanks 2,440 2,461 2,484 142 214 167 5.8 8.7 6.7 2,298 2,247 2,317
Yukon-Koyukuk 2,167 2,159 2,131 316 350 265 14.6 16.2 12.4 1,851 1,809 1,866
                         
Northern Region 8,399 8,331 8,956 1,039 956 871 12.4 11.5 9.7 7,360 7,375 8,085
Nome 3,195 3,165 3,426 444 408 404 13.9 12.9 11.8 2,751 2,757 3,022
North Slope Borough 3,167 3,134 3,340 288 249 177 9.1 7.9 5.3 2,879 2,885 3,163
Northwest Arctic Borough 2,037 2,032 2,190 307 299 290 15.1 14.7 13.2 1,730 1,733 1,900
                         
Southeast Region 40,210 39,268 41,102 2,433 2,439 2,638 6.1 6.2 6.4 37,777 36,829 38,464
Haines Borough 1,172 1,180 1,193 93 128 95 7.9 10.8 8.0 1,079 1,052 1,098
Juneau Borough 17,318 16,827 17,708 817 740 907 4.7 4.4 5.1 16,501 16,087 16,801
Ketchikan Gateway Borough 7,486 7,335 7,665 443 469 494 5.9 6.4 6.4 7,043 6,866 7,171
Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan 3,465 3,406 3,511 433 450 423 12.5 13.2 12.0 3,032 2,956 3,088
Sitka Borough 4,565 4,438 4,645 245 227 247 5.4 5.1 5.3 4,320 4,211 4,398
Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon 2,253 2,187 2,329 123 110 160 5.5 5.0 6.9 2,130 2,077 2,169
Wrangell-Petersburg 3,609 3,558 3,698 242 276 270 6.7 7.8 7.3 3,367 3,282 3,428
Yakutat Borough 341 336 352 36 39 42 10.6 11.6 11.9 305 297 310
                         
Southwest Region 14,838 14,530 15,102 1,463 1,415 1,406 9.9 9.7 9.3 13,375 13,115 13,696
Aleutians East Borough 1,553 1,561 1,599 38 76 48 2.4 4.9 3.0 1,515 1,485 1,551
Aleutians West 2,307 2,241 2,376 156 132 173 6.8 5.9 7.3 2,151 2,109 2,203
Bethel  6,013 5,829 6,060 671 591 590 11.2 10.1 9.7 5,342 5,238 5,470
Bristol Bay Borough 571 565 586 26 31 28 4.6 5.5 4.8 545 534 558
Dillingham 1,710 1,676 1,746 160 156 158 9.4 9.3 9.0 1,550 1,520 1,588
Lake & Peninsula Borough 594 579 611 52 47 56 8.8 8.1 9.2 542 532 555
Wade Hampton 2,090 2,079 2,125 360 383 353 17.2 18.4 16.6 1,730 1,696 1,772

Benchmark: March 1998

P/ denotes preliminary estimates

R/ denotes revised estimates

Comparisons between different time periods are not as meaningful as other time series produced by Research & 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 Alaskan 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.

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

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