The Capital City had the lowest unemployment rate in Alaska last month.
At 4.3 percent, Juneau’s October rate was unchanged from September and almost a full percentage point below October 2011.
The statewide jobless rate last month was 7.1 percent, well below the national rate of 7.9 percent.
Alaska’s employment picture is affected more by seasonal work than any other state. The numbers of those seeking unemployment benefits go up every fall and down in the spring.
But state labor economist Caroline Schultz says Juneau typically has a lower unemployment rate compared to the rest of the state.
“We have a less seasonal economy than Southeast Alaska, certainly because of the stability of government jobs and other private sector jobs,” Schultz says, “the perks of having a bigger economy in Juneau than we have in the rest of Southeast, where those communities are subject to much more seasonal changes.”
Skagway is the poster child for seasonal employment. In September, 2.4 percent of the workforce filed for unemployment benefits. It grew to more than 17 percent last month.
Sitka was another bright spot in the state’s economy last month, with unemployment slightly above Juneau’s, at 4-point-6 percent.
Over the year, the Southeast Alaska economy has grown by 2 percent, according to Schultz, with growth across all industries, and bigger gains in the private sector.
- Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she needs time to review a health care bill drafted by fellow Republicans to understand its effects.
- Advocacy group Alaska Trails sent a letter to let Gov. Bill Walker know that transportation funds are at risk. Alaska returned $2.6 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation last September.
- The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has been trying to move a majority of its net pens in the Tutka Bay Lagoon to the head of Tutka Bay for about four years. The hotly debated issue has led to packed community meetings and questions about the impact of raising fish in the area.
- A lot of science involves happy accidents. A retired scientist from Oregon stepped off the ferry in Sitka late last month, and on a hunch decided to look around the woods for an old friend.