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Unemployment rate at 8.3 percent in May


Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for
May fell slightly to 8.3 percent. April's preliminary
rate was unchanged at 8.4 percent.

The comparable national rate was 9.7 percent for
May, down from 9.9 percent in April.

The unemployment rates for both Alaska and the U.S
remain higher than a year ago, but Alaska's picture is
still healthier than the nation's. Alaska's rate continues
to trend downward from its high of 8.6 percent in
December of last year.

The frenzied bustle of May signals the beginning of
summer and an upswing in seasonal activity. Construction
work is moving into high gear, and Alaska's
fi shing and visitor industries are mobilizing a work
force for three to four months of hyperactivity.

Jobless rates (not seasonally adjusted) fell slightly in
most areas of the state but were still higher than yearago
rates for most areas. The lowest May rates were
recorded in the Skagway Municipality and Bristol
Bay Borough - two communities that experience dramatic
seasonal upswings in their work force. Tourism
in Skagway and fi shing in Bristol Bay are the reasons
for the upswing in economic activity.

The other areas of the state with relatively low unemployment
rates were the urban communities of
Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Sitka. However,
there were exceptions like the Denali Borough. As it
prepared for an infl ux of summer visitors to Denali
National Park, unemployment fell from 15 percent in
April to 5.8 percent in May.

The two areas with the highest jobless rates were the
Wade Hampton and Bethel census areas. Both areas
suffer from chronically high, year-round joblessness.
Neither of these areas experiences a major seasonalbounce
in summer employment.

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