Alaska’s unemployment rate holds steady

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in May at 6.4 percent. Likewise, the national rate was stable at 6.3 percent for the month, according to the state Labor Department.

The state’s adjusted rate, which works to account for seasonal employment swings, has hovered within a 0.3 percent range since stabilizing in late 2012. 

It was 6.5 percent a year ago, while the national adjusted unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in May 2013.

The national rate fell below Alaska’s in April for the first time since late 2008, a symptom of the recession being felt more across the Lower 48 than Alaska. Historically, Alaska’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average, often by nearly 2 percent.

Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment fell to 6.1 percent in May across Alaska, down from 6.4 percent in April and a bit lower than the 6.3 percent in May 2013, according to the Labor Department.

The typical seasonal decline in unemployment was seen in 24 of the 29 boroughs and census areas in the state. 

May rates fell about 10 percent in the tourism hotspots of Skagway and the Denali Borough.

Preparation for the Bristol Bay salmon season dropped rates on the Alaska Peninsula, while the wrap-up of the winter pollock fishing season caused rates to rise farther west in Aleutian communities, according to the Labor Department.

The municipality of Skagway had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.3 percent. The Wade Hampton Census Area in Western Alaska had the highest rate at 23.3 percent.