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Unemployment rate 3rd-lowest in borough history

Posted: Monday, September 03, 2007

The unemployment rate in the Kenai Peninsula Borough fell to 5.9 percent during July, better by more than half a percent than during the same period last year, according to figures compiled by the borough's economic analyst.

In July 2006, the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, Jeanne Camp said in an Aug. 17 report to Borough Mayor John Williams.

Employment data also showed the borough doing better for all of 2007 so far, with unemployment for the first seven months standing at 8.2 percent, 0.8 percent lower than year-to-date figures for the same period last year, Camp said.

There were 27,497 people in the borough's total labor force in July of this year, which actually amounted to a small decrease of 128 workers from July 2006. However, the total number of people working was 25,878, a gain of 47 people over the same month in 2006.

Year-to-date, employment is up 262 persons, and as of July 2007 stood at 23,426, Camp noted.

"In summary, the total Kenai Peninsula Borough July 2007 labor force was less than during July 2006, 2005 and 2004, the first decrease since 2002," Camp said. "But Kenai Peninsula Borough total employment reached and all time high for July."

Camp also noted that the 5.9 percent July unemployment rate was the third-lowest July rate in borough history. The number of unemployed was also the third-lowest in history, she said.

The borough's best unemployment rates since 1990 came during 2000 and 2001, when they were 8.0 and 8.1 respectively.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough typically sees a spike in employment during the summer months as employment picks up in the fishing industry, construction and tourist-related businesses.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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