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.
- Tribal groups from opposite ends of the state have formed an alliance to fight mines they say threaten traditional fisheries.
- The deadline for bids and public comment on a proposed Haines-area timber sale has been extended. The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of old growth Sitka spruce and western hemlock on the Chilkat Peninsula.
- Heat pumps are nothing new. But upgrades over the past thirty years have made the systems a lot more reliable. Now Juneau installers are racing to keep up with growing demand.
- Concern over poor king salmon runs across the state drew a panel of fisheries experts together at a recent meeting in Anchorage. The event focused mainly on a better understanding of the science behind population declines.