Alaska unemployment drops to 4.3 percent

Posted: Friday, September 15, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Alaska unemployment decreased to 4.3 percent in August as seasonal industries such as fishing, tourism and construction hit peak levels, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The rate was the second lowest for any month since 1978 and dropped .4 percent from July.

Nearly every region and area in the state enjoyed lower jobless rates in August, said John Boucher, a labor economist with the department. A rebound in oil industry activity is giving the state's northern region an employment boost.

The Aleutians East Borough reported the state's lowest jobless rate at 1.6 percent, while the Wade Hampton census area in Southwest Alaska had the highest rate at 15.9 percent.

Most industries gained jobs in August but losses in seafood processing were large enough to cause total employment to fall slightly, Boucher said. This is not unusual for August because seafood processing employment typically peaks in July with the salmon harvest in Western Alaska.

Unemployment in Anchorage dropped .2 percent to 3.4 percent, while the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's rate decreased from 5.8 percent to 5.2 percent.

The jobless rate in Fairbanks decreased from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent. On the Kenai Peninsula, the rate dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.7 percent, while Kodiak saw a .3 percent decrease to 3.4 percent.

In Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan saw a slight increase from 4.2 to 4.3 percent unemployment, while Sitka decreased from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent. Unemployment in Juneau declined .2 percent to 3.4 percent.

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