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Alaskanomics's Blog: December unemployment rate at 6.4 percent


The unemployment rate for 2013 was down three-tenths of a percent from where it started in January. Throughout the year, the rate hovered in the low to mid 6 percent range, dipping below 6 only once, in May. The unemployment rate in Alaska is still lower than the national average, but the difference is shrinking between the two averages. The Alaska average was 6.6 percent in December 2012 and nationally was 7.9 percent. December 2013 saw a national average of 6.7 percent, only three-tenths higher than the Alaska average.

There is still great disparity between census areas in Alaska. Hoonah-Angoon, Wade Hampton and Skagway all had rates above 20 percent, while the North Slope Borough was at 3.9 percent in December. Most areas saw an increase in unemployment with the Aleutians East and Aleutians West seeing the highest increases with 4.7 and 3.7 percentage points respectively. 

This time of year there are many predictions to what will happen in the coming year. As noted in a previous post, Neal Fried has predicted that 2014 will be fairly flat when it comes to employment numbers in Alaska. Only time will tell if the national average will continue to drop at a higher rate than Alaska’s or if the rates have started to level out and will remain steady.

For detailed employment estimates, see http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/ces/ The estimates are preliminary and subject to potentially large revisions.


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