Fall slowdown apparent, but employment remains strong

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Although summer had gone and with it the fever of activity that typically boils Alaska's busy season, the latest figures from the Kenai Peninsula Borough show employment during October remained relatively active.

For one thing, there was less unemployment during the month when compared to October 2006, and while the total number of available workers the labor force was somewhat smaller than in October 2006, actual employment fell by a lesser degree. The result was that both actual unemployment and the unemployment rate for that month were lower than the year before, according to borough economic analyst Jeanne Camp.

"The number of unemployed persons during October was 90 less when compared to the same month one year earlier, and 153 less on a year-to-date basis when compared to the same period during 2006," Camp told the assembly in a memo included in the Dec. 4 assembly packet.

According to the figures, the rate of unemployment during this past October was 6.7 percent, about 0.3-percent lower than during October 2006. Similarly, the year-to-date figure for the first 10 months of 2007 averaged 7.6 percent, 0.6-percent lower than the equivalent period of a year earlier.

In all, 1,650 workers actively seeking work were out of a job during the month, 90 less than the 1,740 unemployed in October 2006. The total labor force was 24,564, about 177 fewer than were available for work in October 2006. But the total number actually employed in the borough was 22,914, a loss of 87 people from the same month a year earlier.

So far, at least, the year-to-date sizes of the average labor force, unemployment, unemployment rate, and employment show 2007 to be a pretty good year.

For instance, the average labor force for all of 2006 was 25,402, a figure so far beaten by more than 250 people during the 10 months of 2007.

The year-to-date unemployment rate of 7.6 percent is well below the 8.3 percent registered for all of 2006.

That difference may well change when unemployment for November and December are known and calculated in to an annual figure for the whole year.

The October figures continued the good showing that marked the past summer season.

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