Unemployment jumps in January

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Unemployment in Alaska increased 1.7 percent to 7.8 percent in January, following a typical midwinter pattern, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported.

The number of unemployed Alaskans also increased to nearly 25,000, said Rachel Baker, a labor economist with the department.

January is typically the peak month for unemployment in Alaska as seasonal industries reach a midwinter low point. Before 1998, unemployment rates of nine percent or higher were typical in January.

Jobless rates moved higher in most areas of the state except Kodiak, where Tanner crab, pollock, and cod openings shrank the island's unemployment rate from 13.3 percent to 11.4 percent. Prince of Wales Island reported the highest rate at 19.1 percent.

Retail trade, services, construction, and government were the largest contributors to the loss of 7,100 jobs. Seafood processing employment provided the only employment boost in January, adding 3,200 jobs, primarily in Southwest Alaska and the Gulf Coast.

Unemployment rates elsewhere in the state:

--Anchorage, 5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in December.

--Matanuska-Susitna Borough, 9.6 percent, up from 7.3 percent.

--Kenai Peninsula Borough, 13.1 percent, up from 10.4 percent

--Fairbanks North Star Borough, 7.2 percent, up from 5.4 percent.

--Juneau, 5.8 percent, up from 4.6 percent

--Sitka Borough, 6.6 percent, up from 4.7 percent

--Ketchikan Gateway Borough, 10.3 percent, up from 7.1 percent.

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