JUNEAU (AP) -- It's springtime in Alaska and, as usual, the state's unemployment rate is heading down.
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that the March jobless rate was 6.9 percent. That was down six-tenths of a point from February.
Still the Alaska rate was far higher than the national average of 4.3 percent in March.
John Boucher, a state labor economist in Juneau, said the declining unemployment rate was largely due to seasonal increases in the construction, mining and transportation sectors.
Boucher said this March's statewide rate was the second-lowest rate for March since 1978. The lowest for the month was 6.6 percent in 1998.
Overall employment in March was 269,200, up about 3,000 from March 1999. The unemployed numbered about 21,800, Boucher said.
By city, Anchorage's jobless rate was 4.7 percent, Juneau 5.3 percent and Fairbanks 6.7 percent. Sitka unemployment was 5 percent, Kodiak 5.6 percent, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough 8.7 percent, Bethel 9.1 percent, Ketchikan 9.6 percent and the Kenai Peninsula Borough 12.3 percent.
The lowest rate was Aleutians East at 3.2 percent and the highest was 17.1 percent in the Wade Hampton census area at the mouth of the Yukon River.
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