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February Unemployment Unchanged Statewide at 8.9%
Ketchikan's Unemployment Rate 11.3%


March 22, 2004
Monday - 1:00 am

Alaska's unemployment rate remained at 8.9 percent in February. The state's rate typically reaches its highest levels in January and February and then declines steadily to a low point in August that is two to three percentage points lower than the winter level according to

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information released Friday by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The comparable national rate ( not seasonally adjusted) was 6.0 percent. The much less seasonal national economy rarely sees unemployment rate fluctuations of greater than one percentage point over the course of a year. Dan Robinson, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the numbers.

At the regional level, unemployment rates generally held steady, the most notable exception being in Southwest Alaska where activity in the Bearing Sea ground fishery picked up in February.

The Northern Region, impacted over the last several years by lower oil industry employment and tax revenue, saw an over-the-month increase of five-tenths of a percentage point. The North Slope Borough has seen its unemployment rate rise from 5.2 percent in 1998 to 13.8 percent in 2003.

Anchorage's February unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, a full three percentage points lower that the statewide level of 8.9 percent and Fairbanks reported 7.9 percent unemployment in February and Juneau 7.3 percent. All three cities saw little change from January to February.

Around Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan reported as 11.3 percent unemployment in February down from January's reported unemployment rate of 11.8 percent. The unemployment rate for Prince of Wales' for February was reported as 19.0 percent down from January's 20.2 percent . Wrangell-Petersburg reported 15.9 percent down form January's 16.4 percent and Sitka reported 8.8 percent down from January's 9.1 percent. Juneau reported 7.3 percent down from January's 7.5 percent.

Statewide, the number of wage and salary jobs has increased by an estimated 3,500 since February 2003. According to Robinson, if job growth continues through 2004, it would be the seventeenth consecutive year of employment gains. Not since 1987 has the state experienced annual job losses.




Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Web Site



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