State 8.5 percent, U.S. 9.7 percent
March 12, 2010
The number reported as unemployed in Ketchikan's civilian labor force in January was 819 compared to December 2009's report of 681. A year ago, the number reported as unemployed was 752.
Ketchikan's civilian labor force in January was 7,543. A year ago, the civilian labor force was 7,817.
Southeast Alaska region-wide, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 10.5 percent.
Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.5 percent according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. All of the labor force data for 2009 were revised as part of the annual production of these statistics, and December's revised unemployment rate was 8.8 percent.
The comparable national rate for January fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 9.7 percent. The unemployment rates for both Alaska and the U.S. in January were higher than they were year ago but both rates also improved between December 2009 and January 2010. It is still too early to tell if this monthly improvement is developing into a more permanent trend.
The labor department notes that during the upcoming months it will be important to keep an eye on both the state's and the nation's jobless rates. If the national unemployment rates continue to improve, it should eventually take some pressure off of Alaska's jobless picture according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development..
Looking more deeply into Alaska's boroughs and census areas, the labor force picture in January was disparate. With the exception of Anchorage/Mat-Su, all of the other regions in the state (using not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates) were in the double digits - not an altogether unusual occurrence during the winter months according to the Alaska Department of Labor. Five areas of the state had jobless rates of more than 20 percent or more than double the nation's.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has implemented a change to the method used to produce statewide wage and salary employment estimates. This change has resulted in increased monthly volatility in the wage and salary estimates for many states, including Alaska. This increased volatility was evident in Alaska's statewide January employment estimates. Therefore, according to the Alaska Department of Labor, one should be very cautious in interpreting any over-the-year or month-to-month change for these monthly estimates. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Series may be a better source of information for trends analysis. (http://labor.alaska.gov/qcew.htm)
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