News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

DATE: December 17, 1999 CONTACT: Neal Fried
NO: 00-22 John Boucher

Alaska Jobless Rate 5.8% in November

Alaska's statewide unemployment rate increased four-tenths of a percentage point in November to 5.8%. The 5.8% rate meant that nearly 18,200 Alaskans were unemployed during November, an increase of nearly 1,000 from October. In November of 1998, nearly 17,400 Alaskans were unemployed and the statewide unemployment rate was 5.5%. The comparable national unemployment rate (civilian not seasonally adjusted) in November was 3.8%. John Boucher, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the increase.

Barring a dramatic increase in unemployment in December, the annual average unemployment rate for 1999 will be about 6.5%. If 1999's rate falls below 6.7%, it would be the second-lowest annual rate in the last 20 years, but it would be an increase from 1998's record setting rate of 5.9%. "Alaska's job market has been relatively strong in 1999," Boucher said. "The layoffs in Alaska's oil patch and related industries are the main reason Alaska's labor market experienced higher unemployment in 1999 compared to 1998."

An increasing unemployment rate in November was expected. "Other economic indicators such as the level of unemployment claims and the wage and salary job count corroborate the monthly trend in unemployment," Boucher said. During the last 20 years the unemployment rate has averaged a four-tenths of a percentage point increase in November. The highest regional unemployment rate was recorded in the Wade Hampton Census area at 13.3%, the lowest was in the Sitka Borough at 3.9%.

November's wage and salary employment statistics showed a broad seasonal downturn, as the economy lost 7,700 jobs. Nearly every major industry lost ground as winter job losses mounted. Job gains were limited to the segments of retail trade that added staff for the holiday shopping season. Compared to last November, the economy registered a gain of 2,400 jobs. Over-the-year job gains were in services, retail trade, transportation, construction and financial sectors. Job losses were posted in the mining, (primarily oil and gas) and manufacturing (primarily seafood processing) industries.

Labor Force by Region and Census Area

Labor Force

Unemployment

Rate

Employment

11/99

10/99

11/98

11/99

10/99

11/98

11/99

10/99

11/98

11/99

10/99

11/98

Alaska Statewide

314,456

316,708

313,667

18,194

17,219

17,393

5.8

5.4

5.5

296,262

299,489

296,274

Anch./Mat-Su Region

175,297

174,180

172,934

7,945

7,767

7,223

4.5

4.5

4.2

167,352

166,413

165,711

Municipality of Anchorage

144,250

142,692

143,848

5,881

5,780

5,359

4.1

4.1

3.7

138,369

136,912

138,489

Mat-Su Borough

31,047

31,488

29,086

2,064

1,987

1,864

6.6

6.3

6.4

28,983

29,501

27,222

Gulf Coast Region

31,701

33,023

32,098

3,516

2,914

3,239

11.1

8.8

10.1

28,185

30,109

28,859

Kenai Peninsula Borough

19,891

21,020

20,112

2,196

2,118

1,994

11.0

10.1

9.9

17,695

18,902

18,118

Kodiak Island Borough

6,943

6,843

7,074

830

313

815

12.0

4.6

11.5

6,113

6,530

6,259

Valdez-Cordova

4,867

5,159

4,912

489

483

430

10.0

9.4

8.8

4,378

4,676

4,482

Interior Region

48,432

48,571

48,532

2,852

2,709

3,032

5.9

5.6

6.2

45,580

45,862

45,500

Denali Borough

1,243

1,233

1,225

132

115

116

10.6

9.3

9.5

1,111

1,118

1,109

Fairbanks North Star Borough

42,765

42,960

42,906

2,227

2,171

2,439

5.2

5.1

5.7

40,538

40,789

40,467

Southeast Fairbanks

2,436

2,418

2,406

259

227

233

10.6

9.4

9.7

2,177

2,191

2,173

Yukon-Koyukuk

1,988

1,960

1,994

235

196

244

11.8

10.0

12.2

1,753

1,764

1,750

Northern Region

8,315

8,263

8,931

763

754

692

9.2

9.1

7.7

7,552

7,509

8,239

Nome

3,098

3,072

3,368

275

265

288

8.9

8.6

8.6

2,823

2,807

3,080

North Slope Borough

3,196

3,182

3,396

242

244

173

7.6

7.7

5.1

2,954

2,938

3,223

Northwest Arctic Borough

2,021

2,010

2,167

246

245

231

12.2

12.2

10.7

1,775

1,765

1,936

Southeast Region

38,084

39,084

38,200

2,122

2,078

2,269

5.6

5.3

5.9

35,962

37,006

35,931

Haines Borough

1,159

1,159

1,120

132

102

94

11.4

8.8

8.4

1,027

1,057

1,026

Juneau Borough

16,428

16,964

16,570

720

800

875

4.4

4.7

5.3

15,708

16,164

15,695

Ketchikan Gateway Borough

7,167

7,324

7,179

462

425

480

6.4

5.8

6.7

6,705

6,899

6,699

Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan

3,151

3,204

3,113

264

233

229

8.4

7.3

7.4

2,887

2,971

2,884

Sitka Borough

4,280

4,431

4,297

168

200

189

3.9

4.5

4.4

4,112

4,231

4,108

Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon

2,149

2,181

2,153

121

94

127

5.6

4.3

5.9

2,028

2,087

2,026

Wrangell-Petersburg

3,442

3,510

3,449

237

212

247

6.9

6.0

7.2

3,205

3,298

3,202

Yakutat Borough

308

312

317

18

13

27

5.8

4.2

8.5

290

299

290

Southwest Region

12,626

13,587

12,970

996

998

937

7.9

7.3

7.2

11,630

12,589

12,033

Aleutians East Borough

1,379

1,490

1,410

62

64

47

4.5

4.3

3.3

1,317

1,426

1,363

Aleutians West

1,993

2,119

2,033

123

94

98

6.2

4.4

4.8

1,870

2,025

1,935

Bethel

5,039

5,475

5,232

394

447

426

7.8

8.2

8.1

4,645

5,028

4,806

Bristol Bay Borough

525

554

539

52

41

49

9.9

7.4

9.1

473

513

490

Dillingham

1,463

1,568

1,480

115

109

85

7.9

7.0

5.7

1,348

1,459

1,395

Lake & Peninsula Bor.

492

530

521

20

20

33

4.1

3.8

6.3

472

510

488

Wade Hampton

1,735

1,851

1,756

231

223

199

13.3

12.0

11.3

1,504

1,628

1,557

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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