April 28, 2006
Alaska's unemployment rate fell five-tenths of a percentage point in March to 7.7 percent, according to the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The March rate was two-tenths of a percentage point higher than March 2005's rate of 7.5 percent, marking the first time in 24 months that the unemployment rate hasn't shown an over-the-year decline.
According to the Alaska Department of Labor, it will take several more months of data, however, before any conclusions can be drawn about a change in the downward trend of unemployment rates statewide. The statistics are in large part based on a survey of only about 1,000 Alaska households and are prone to considerable month-to-month variability.
Statewide the total nonfarm employment rose by 3,000 in March to 301,400. The gains were scattered across a variety of industries as the state's seasonal employers continued their gradual build toward the peak months of summer.
Also contributing to the monthly gains statewide were industries such as oil and gas and health care, both of which have been growing at a healthy rate unrelated to seasonal trends. Oil and gas employment increased by 200 in March and health care employment by 300.
Statewide, the March job count
was 5,300 higher than in March 2005, an over-the-year growth
rate of 1.8 percent. Growth in that range continues the trend
from 2005, which saw a modest acceleration in job growth from
the two previous years. In 2005 the state added jobs at an average
rate of 1.9 percent compared to 1.6 percent in 2004 and 1.4 percent
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