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November Unemployment Rises Slightly


December 20, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaska's unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percentage point in November to 7.0 percent. The increase is typical for this time of year according to Dan Robinson, an economist at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Preliminary numbers suggest that the average monthly unemployment rate in 2004 will be at least slightly lower than in 2003.

jpg labor force by region

Labor Force by Region
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Ketchikan's unemployment rate rose six-tenths of a percentage point to 8.6 percent. Anchorage's rate was unchanged at 4.8 percent and was the lowest in the state in November. Fairbanks' unemployment rate rose five-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent and Juneau's rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.8 percent. Wade Hampton recorded the state's highest November unemployment rate at 23.8 percent.

In a comparison of Alaska's six economic regions throughout 2004, Anchorage/Mat-Su unemployment rates have been the state's lowest. The Interior region has also seen relatively healthy unemployment rates, consistently recording numbers below the statewide average. At the other end of the spectrum, unemployment rates in the Northern and Southwest regions have been more than twice the statewide average for much of 2004.

Preliminary November payroll estimates show a decline of 8,700 jobs from October. The biggest losses came from seasonal industries that typically shed employment as winter approaches according to Robinson. Construction jobs fell by 2,400, manufacturing by 2,900 (mostly seafood processing), and leisure and hospitality by 1,500.

jpg Alaska nonfarm payroll employment

Alaska has 3,300 more jobs than in November 2003, an over-the-year growth rate of 1.1 percent. Most industrial sectors have contributed, with education and health services leading the way with 1,600 new jobs. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector has added 1,100 and construction has added 700. Employment in the natural resources and mining sector is up 400 from a year ago, a notable change given that jobs in natural resources declined in both 2002 and 2003. These gains were slightly offset by small declines in government, other services, and manufacturing.


Source of News & Charts:

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Web Site


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