Percentage of Outside workers on the decline

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- The percentage of nonresident workers in Alaska reached its lowest point in a decade in 2000, according to the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

That year, department figures show, 17.9 percent of the workers in Alaska lived elsewhere.

That figure was down slightly from 18.1 percent in 1999. It's a big decline from 1992, when nearly 24 percent of the Alaska workers weren't residents.

Resident workers in 2000 took home nearly 90 percent of the cash, however. Outside workers collected 10.3 percent of $8.76 billion paid in Alaska wages and salaries that year.

A big part of the decline came because of lower employment in the seafood processing industry, whose work force is about 70 percent nonresidents. That industry lost about 1,400 workers in 2000 compared with the year before.

But the oil industry more than made up the difference. Employment in that industry rose by nearly 2,000 jobs in 2000 to 13,100. Nearly a thousand of the new workers weren't Alaskans.

That pushed the nonresident percentage to 27.5 percent for the year, up 2.8 percentage points from 1999. Nonresident workers collected about 24 percent of the wages and salaries in the high-paying industry for 2000.

The state figures come from filings for unemployment insurance, so they don't include federal workers or those who are self-employed.

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