May 24, 2004
Statewide, Alaska's unemployment rate fell five-tenths of a percentage point in April to 7.3 percent and the state added about 1,800 wage and salary jobs. The comparable national
Four of the state's six economic regions recorded noticeable lower unemployment rates in April, with the biggest decline coming in Southeast where the rate fell from 9.0 percent to 7.4 percent. The Anchorage/Mat-Su, Gulf Coast, and Interior regions all saw smaller declines.
The Northern regions's unemployment rate changed very little in April, falling one-tenth of a percentage point from 15.1 percent to 15.0 percent. Unemployment jumped from 12.2 percent to 14.9 percent in the Southwest region due to a normal seasonal lull in the groundfish fisheries.
Claims for unemployment insurance, one of the inputs used to calculate the unemployment rate, were down from 15,115 in March to 13,310 in April. The April claims number was also down from the year-ago level of 14,139.
Wage and salary employment growth was widespread in April, with the biggest increases coming in construction and the leisure and the hospitality sector. Specifically, the accommodations industry added about 200 jobs statewide while food services and drinking places added 800. Retail trade employment grew by about 600 jobs in April while manufacturing had a large seasonal decline of 2,800 jobs due to seasonal fluctuations in fishing and seafood processing.
Over-the-year job growth statewide has been strongest in health care, social services and in retail trade. Jobs in the natural resources and mining sector were down 300 from April 2003 and government employment was unchanged.
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