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.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.