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Unemployment rate at 7.7 percent in July

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose fi ve-tenths of a percentage point in July to 7.7 percent. The comparable national rate went up one-tenth of a percentage point, to 8.3 percent. Alaska’s rate has risen seven-tenths of a percentage point since May. July’s increase is relatively high historically, but it might be overstated. When doing level comparisons, it is important to note that preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are subject to monthly and annual revisions that can substantially change their value. Large month-to-month rate changes are more frequent prior to these revisions. Twenty-four states had lower rates than Alaska in June, the most recent month for which all states’ data are available. This middle-of-the-pack position is relatively new for Alaska; in June 2007 before the recession, 47 states and the District of Columbia had lower rates.

July’s rates across Alaska, which are not seasonally adjusted, show summer in full swing. Twenty-seven out of 29 borough and census area rates declined in July. The highest and lowest rates were in Southwest, which is typical in the summer. The lowest rate was 1.4 percent in Bristol Bay Borough, and the highest was 24.9 percent in the Wade Hampton Census Area.

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