July joblessness ties record low for month

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to a level that ties the record low for July, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Joblessness in July was 4.7 percent statewide, tying the record low set in 1998.

The rate was down from 6 percent in June, but was still a half-percent higher than the national rate of 4.2 percent.

A dip in unemployment is an annual event each July, as the state's fishing, tourism and construction industries reach their peaks.

''These additional (7,900) jobs were the most significant factor contributing to the drop,'' said Brigitta Windisch-Cole, a state labor economist.

Fishing-dependent communities like Kodiak, Dillingham and Bristol Bay Borough showed the greatest drops in unemployment from June to July.

The single biggest source of new jobs was salmon and other seafood processing, Windisch-Cole said. That sector accounted for an estimated 6,800 positions.

Among Alaska's major cities, Sitka saw an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, Anchorage and Juneau both 3.6 percent, Ketchikan 4.2 percent, Fairbanks 4.4 percent and Bethel 8.8 percent.

In other areas, Mat-Su Borough 5.8 percent, Kenai Peninsula Borough 6 percent, North Slope Borough 9.1 percent and Nome 10.7 percent.

Aleutians East Borough was the state's lowest at 1.6 percent and the Wade Hampton census area, near the mouth of the Yukon River, was highest at 16.6 percent.

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