October 25, 2004
Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaska's unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in September to 6.7 percent and nonfarm payroll employment fell by 6,000, according to Dan Robinson, an economist at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The comparable national unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.1 percent. The unadjusted national rate typically falls in September as Alaska's rate rises because of different seasonal patterns according to Robinson.
Ketchikan's unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a percentage point in September to 6.1. Anchorage's unemployment rate rose very slightly from 5.0 to 5.1 percent and Fairbanks' rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent. Juneau's unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent. Wade Hampton recorded the state's highest rate at 24.0 percent and Sitka the lowest at 4.1 percent.
Statewide the decline of 6,000 jobs over the month was a typical drop for Alaska at the end of summer according to Robinson. In 2003 statewide jobs fell by 6,100 in September and in 2002 by 6,200. This year's biggest monthly declines were in manufacturing (4,300) due to less seafood processing activity, and the leisure and hospitality sector (2,400) due to the winding down of the summer visitor season. A new academic year helped raise government employment by 4,700 in September.
Over-the-year Robinson noted that comparisons show that September's estimate of 317,400 payroll jobs is 4,100 higher statewide than in September 2003, a growth rate of 1.3 percent. Construction continues to show strong growth, up 1,000 jobs statewide over the year to 21,200. Employment in health care and social assistance, which takes up most of the education and health services sector seen in the payroll employment table below, has also been robust over the year. September's estimate of 32,800 jobs is up 2,100 since September 2003, a growth rate statewide of 6.8 percent.
The state had about 600 fewer government job this September than it did in September 2003. Local government saw the biggest decline, dropping from 40,300 to 39,800, a loss of 500 jobs statewide. The remaining 100 jobs lost were in state government.
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