U.S.DOL NR 01-83
DATE: Dec 21, 2001     NO: 01-96

CONTACTS: 

Dan Robinson

PHONE:

(907) 465-6036

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

November’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 5.6%

Alaska’s November unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.6%.  Typically, the unemployment rate rises slightly from October to November as seasonal employers such as the seafood processing industry reduce employment heading into the winter months.  Over the last 20 years the average November rate was 8.2%. 

The number of unemployed decreased slightly over the month to 18,064, a 7.9% decrease from November 2000.  Initial claims for unemployment dropped 9.6% from October to 8,694.  Initial claims are up 1.7% over the November 2000 level.

The comparable national unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.3%.  The rate has increased for three consecutive months and is up significantly from November 2000’s rate of 3.8%.

 According to Dan Robinson, a labor economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state’s low November unemployment rate is another indication that Alaska’s economy has been relatively unaffected by the national recession.  As the country’s unemployment rate has climbed in recent months, Alaska’s has generally declined or shown smaller than expected seasonal increases.  “These numbers underline that Alaska’s economy  often follows different trends than the country as a whole,” Robinson said. 

 Regional unemployment rates generally followed seasonal trends.  For example, Kodiak’s unemployment rate jumped from 7.2% to 12.8% as the fishing season came to an end.  Bristol Bay had a smaller, though comparable, increase from 7.8% to 10.4%.  Anchorage’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7%, the lowest rate in the state. 

 At 13.9%, Wade Hampton Census Area once again had the state’s highest rate of unemployment, but the rate decreased noticeably from last month’s 16.2%.  Juneau’s unemployment rate dropped five-tenths of a percent to 4.3% and Fairbanks saw a negligible increase from 5.0% to 5.1%. 

 Preliminary estimates show that wage and salary employment declined by almost 9,000 jobs over the month, or three percent.  The estimates show a 1.7% increase over the year-ago level.  Service industries and construction have both shown healthy growth over the year, adding a combined total of more than 3,000 jobs since November 2000.

Labor Force by Region and Census Area
  Labor Force Unemployment Rates Employment
  /P /R   /P /R   /P /R   /P /R  
  nov 2001  oct 2001 nov 2000 nov 2001  oct 2001 nov 2000 nov 2001  oct 2001 nov 2000 nov 2001  oct 2001 nov 2000
                         
Alaska Statewide  324,742 328,410 322,180 18,064 18,372 19,607 5.6 5.6 6.1 306,678 310,038 302,573
                         
Anchorage-Mat-Su Region  182,311 182,128 180,372 7,672 7,879 8,615 4.2 4.3 4.8 174,639 174,249 171,757
Municipality of Anchorage 149,110 148,233 148,466 5,545 5,845 6,276 3.7 3.9 4.2 143,565 142,388 142,190
Mat-Su Borough 33,201 33,895 31,906 2,127 2,034 2,339 6.4 6.0 7.3 31,074 31,861 29,567
                         
Gulf Coast Region  31,969 33,252 31,932 3,142 2,885 3,441 9.8 8.7 10.8 28,827 30,367 28,491
Kenai Peninsula Borough 20,326 21,373 20,250 1,847 1,907 1,986 9.1 8.9 9.8 18,479 19,466 18,264
Kodiak Island Borough 6,861 6,789 6,907 879 488 995 12.8 7.2 14.4 5,982 6,301 5,912
Valdez-Cordova Census Area 4,782 5,090 4,775 416 490 460 8.7 9.6 9.6 4,366 4,600 4,315
                         
Interior Region  49,496 49,564 48,953 2,872 2,841 2,977 5.8 5.7 6.1 46,624 46,723 45,976
Denali Borough 1,176 1,203 1,172 115 140 126 9.8 11.6 10.8 1,061 1,063 1,046
Fairbanks North Star Borough 43,633 43,660 43,092 2,236 2,175 2,271 5.1 5.0 5.3 41,397 41,485 40,821
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area 2,599 2,633 2,590 262 291 285 10.1 11.1 11.0 2,337 2,342 2,305
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area 2,088 2,068 2,099 259 235 295 12.4 11.4 14.1 1,829 1,833 1,804
                         
Northern Region  8,839 9,251 9,183 764 892 864 8.6 9.6 9.4 8,075 8,359 8,319
Nome Census Area 3,316 3,463 3,465 288 329 346 8.7 9.5 10.0 3,028 3,134 3,119
North Slope Borough 3,338 3,509 3,487 219 280 273 6.6 8.0 7.8 3,119 3,229 3,214
Northwest Arctic Borough 2,185 2,279 2,230 257 283 244 11.8 12.4 10.9 1,928 1,996 1,986
                         
Southeast Region  38,918 40,055 38,279 2,400 2,509 2,463 6.2 6.3 6.4 36,518 37,546 35,816
Haines Borough 1,234 1,260 1,199 131 126 117 10.6 10.0 9.8 1,103 1,134 1,082
Juneau Borough 16,915 17,487 16,646 731 847 773 4.3 4.8 4.6 16,184 16,640 15,873
Ketchikan Gateway Borough 7,563 7,777 7,396 555 571 522 7.3 7.3 7.1 7,008 7,206 6,874
Pr. of Wales-Outer Ketchikan CA  3,005 3,087 3,015 241 246 305 8.0 8.0 10.1 2,764 2,841 2,710
Sitka Borough 4,273 4,369 4,180 204 186 190 4.8 4.3 4.5 4,069 4,183 3,990
Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon  CA 2,142 2,212 2,093 232 248 220 10.8 11.2 10.5 1,910 1,964 1,873
Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area 3,480 3,549 3,440 274 253 295 7.9 7.1 8.6 3,206 3,296 3,145
Yakutat Borough 307 314 310 33 32 41 10.7 10.2 13.2 274 282 269
                         
Southwest Region  13,209 14,161 13,463 1,214 1,366 1,248 9.2 9.6 9.3 11,995 12,795 12,215
Aleutians East Borough 1,364 1,441 1,401 55 44 68 4.0 3.1 4.9 1,309 1,397 1,333
Aleutians West Census Area 1,824 1,893 1,902 171 130 219 9.4 6.9 11.5 1,653 1,763 1,683
Bethel Census Area 5,531 5,980 5,590 485 598 452 8.8 10.0 8.1 5,046 5,382 5,138
Bristol Bay Borough 443 460 453 46 36 49 10.4 7.8 10.8 397 424 404
Dillingham Census Area 1,609 1,726 1,602 147 166 113 9.1 9.6 7.1 1,462 1,560 1,489
Lake & Peninsula Borough 539 579 571 47 54 70 8.7 9.3 12.3 492 525 501
Wade Hampton Census Area 1,900 2,083 1,943 264 338 277 13.9 16.2 14.3 1,636 1,745 1,666
2000 Benchmark
/P = Preliminary     /R = Revised
Comparisons between different time periods are not as meaningful as other time series produced by Research & Analysis.  The official definition of unemployment currently in place excludes anyone who has not made an active attempt to find work in the four-week period up to and including the week that includes the 12th of the reference month.  Due to the scarcity of employment opportunities in rural Alaska, many individuals do not meet the official definition of unemployed because they have not conducted an active job search.  They are considered not in the labor force.

 


Alaska Nonagricultural Wage & Salary Employment
preliminary revised Changes from
11/01 10/01 11/00 10/00 11/00
         
Total Nonagricultural Employment 282,800 291,700 278,100 -8,900 4,700
Mining 10,600 11,700 11,100 -1,100 -500
Construction 14,600 16,700 14,100 -2,100 500
Manufacturing 8,900 11,900 9,500 -3,000 -600
Transportation, Commun. & Utilities 26,300 27,000 26,100 -700 200
Trade 59,100 59,300 57,700 -200 1,400
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 12,600 12,800 12,600 -200 0
Services & Misc. 74,200 75,600 71,600 -1,400 2,600
Government 76,500 76,700 75,400 -200 1,100
Government includes employees of public schools and the University of Alaska
Benchmark March 2000

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates
November 01 Alaska 5.7% U.S. 5.7%
October 01 Alaska 5.4% U.S. 6.0%
September 01 Alaska 4.9% U.S. 6.5%

Benchmark: March 2000 Source: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section.

  • Comparisons between different time periods are not as meaningful as other time series produced by Research and Analysis. 
  • The official definition of unemployment currently in place excludes anyone who has not made an active attempt to find work in the four-week period up to and including the week that includes the 12th of the reference month. Due to the scarcity of employment opportunities in rural Alaska locations, many individuals do not meet the official definition of unemployed because they have not conducted an active job search. These individuals are considered not in the labor force.

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