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Alaska's Unemployment Inches Upward
Ketchikan's September Unemployment Reported at 5.8%


October 17, 2003
Friday - 1:00 am

While Ketchikan's unemployment rate inched down one-tenth of a percentage point in September to 5.8%, Alaska's unemployment rate inched up one-tenth of a percentage point in September to 6.8 percent. The comparable national rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.8 percent. Dan Robinson, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, reported the numbers.

The monthly household survey shows that employment fell by more than 4,300 in September as Alaska's seasonal industries began winding down. Unemployment was essentially unchanged, however, suggesting that most of the seasonal workers left Alaska's labor force when their summer jobs ended. To be counted as unemployed a person must actively be seeking work, so students who return to school or summer workers who don't look for off-season jobs are considered out of the labor force.

The state's three biggest cities continue to record some of the state's lowest unemployment rates.  Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau all had September rates at least a full percentage point lower than the 6.8 percent statewide rate.  In general, rural Alaska has significantly higher rates.  The Wade Hampton Census Area recorded the state's highest rate at 25.7 percent, while the Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bethel Census Area also saw unemployment rates significantly higher than the statewide

Labor Force by Region & Census Area graphic

Labor Force by Region & Census Area
Click on image for larger view...

September estimates of wage and salary employment show a decline of 3,500 manufacturing jobs, mostly in seafood processing as the salmon season wrapped up.  The Leisure & Hospitality sector lost 2,400 jobs as the summer visitor season neared its end.  Government jobs increased by 4,000 in September, due almost entirely to the beginning of the academic school year at the University of Alaska and the state's K-12 public schools.

Alaska has added approximately 4,100 jobs since September 2002, an increase of 1.3 percent.  At the end of the third quarter, it appears that 2003 will mark the state's sixteenth consecutive year of job growth.  

Robinson reported Ketchikan's labor force for September at 7,599 while Ketchikan's August's labor force was reported at 8,024.  


Source of News Release & Graphics:

Alaska Department of Labor
Web Site


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