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Unemployment Rate at 6.6 Percent in March

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March, up one-tenth of a percentage point from February. The comparable national rate was 6.7 percent.

As the national rate has crept down, it has become increasingly evident it will soon drop below Alaska’s rate after a long stretch of being higher. That says more about the U.S. economy’s continuing recovery than about any fundamental change for Alaska. The state’s rate had always been higher than the nation’s until the recession pushed the U.S. rate close to double its pre-recession level. Alaska’s rate climbed too, but less dramatically, and returned more quickly to its historical average.

Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in March, down from 7.7 percent in February. Along with longer days and hints of spring, March heralds the beginning of the unadjusted rate’s descent into summer lows as seasonal work picks up. Rates fell in 26 of 29 boroughs and census areas from February to March. The North Slope Borough continued to have the lowest rate in the state in March, at 4.3 percent.

Wade Hampton Census Area narrowly eclipsed Hoonah-Angoon Census Area for the highest rate statewide, at 25.8 and 25.7 percent respectively.

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