November 29, 2005
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports a Ketchikan labor force of 7,925 workers in October with 7,411 reported employed and 514 unemployed. This time last year, the labor force was reported at 7,771. Of that number, 7,218 workers were employed and 553 unemployed in October 2004.
On local levels, communities that rely most heavily on seasonal employment from the visitor industry or fisheries recorded large increases in unemployment rates, as expected by the Alaska Department of Labor. The Denali Borough's rate increased from 2.7 percent to 6.2 percent, Skagway, Hoonah and Angoon saw an increase from 6.8 to 15.8 percent and Bristol Bay's rate rose from 4.8 percent to 7.3 percent in October.
Alaska's unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point in October to 6.2 percent. According to the Alaska Department of Labor, the state's unemployment rate continues to be moderately lower in 2005 than it was in 2004 - October 2004's rate was six-tenths of a percentage point higher at 6.8 percent. The national trend is similar. October's 4.6 percent unemployment rate for the U.S. was fi ve-tenths of a percentage point lower than October 2004's 5.1 percent rate.
Rates in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau changed little in October and all three communities have unemployment rates about half a percentage point lower than in October 2004. The combined Anchorage/Mat-Su region has the lowest rate in the state at 5.2 percent, while the Northern and Southwest regions have the highest at 10.6 and 10.7 percent, respectively.
Statewide, preliminary estimates of payroll employment show over-the-year growth of 5,500 and a typically large monthly decline of 15,000. Job growth has accelerated in 2005 and the state is nearly certain to extend its streak of employment growth to 18 years at the end of 2005.
Nearly every sector of the economy has contributed to the growth in 2005. Two notable exceptions are the air transportation industry, which has lost 300 jobs since October 2004, and the federal government, which was down 200 jobs over the same period. Health care employers have added 1,000 jobs over the year, more than any other industry. Growth has also been strong in mining, construction, retail trade and restaurants.
The official definition of
unemployment excludes anyone who has not made an active attempt
to find work in the four-week period up to and including the
week that includes the 12th of the reference month. The Department
of Labor notes that many individuals in rural Alaska do not meet
the definition because they have not conducted an active job
search due to the scarcity of employment opportunities.
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