JUNEAU (AP) -- Unemployment in Alaska increased slightly in December, mostly reflecting a normal seasonal pattern, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday.
The jobless rate increased from 5.8 percent in November to 6.1 percent, but remained well below historical rates of 8 to 10 percent for the same period. The national unemployment rate for December was 3.7 percent.
Most local declines were small except for parts of Southwest and Southeast Alaska, where communities dependent on fishing and timber jumped sharply, said Neil Fried, a labor economist for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The highest rate was in the Wade Hampton Census Area of Southwest Alaska, which reported 16.6 percent unemployment. Anchorage had the lowest rate at 4.1 percent.
The state lost 2,900 wage and salary jobs in December, Fried said, mostly through normal seasonal declines in areas such as construction and seafood processing, Fried said. Air transportation lost 200 jobs last month when Reeve Aleutian Airways shut down most of its operations.
Unemployment in Fairbanks increased from 5 percent to 5.4 percent, while the Matanuska-Susitna Borough saw its jobless rate jump from 6.9 percent to 7.3 percent. On the Kenai Peninsula, unemployment increased from 9.5 percent to 10.6 percent, while Kodiak's rate dropped from 13.6 percent to 13.1 percent.
In Sitka, the rate went from 4.3 percent to 4.6 percent, while Juneau's unemployment increased slightly from 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent. In Ketchikan, unemployment increased from 7.5 percent to 7.1 percent.
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