Unemployment rate at 6.5 percent in December
AK (CompNewsNetwork) - Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose
one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.5 percent in December, according to the Alaska
Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The comparable national rate rose
three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.0 percent.
Alaska's rate has been slowly climbing since hitting a low point of 5.8 percent in
April. Over that period, the seasonally adjusted number of unemployed people has risen from
20,139 to 22,966, and although employment has grown, it's done so at a slightly slower
At 5.1 percent, Anchorage's December unemployment rate is about the same as December
2006's 5.0 percent rate (not seasonally adjusted). The state's other population centers,
including Mat-Su, Fairbanks and Juneau, also saw little over-the-year change to their
The Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area had December's highest rate at 21.1 percent and
the North Slope Borough had the lowest at 4.5 percent. Payroll employment estimates
for December fell by 3,500, due mostly to expected seasonal declines in seafood processing
and construction. Over-the-year growth has slowed in the second half of the year, however,
and was just 0.6 percent in December.
The most noticeable restraint on growth has been construction, which was down 900 jobs
from December 2006 levels. Oil and gas continues to show strong over-the-year growth, with
700 more jobs in December than a year ago, but most of those gains came earlier in the
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