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Unemployment rate at 6.6 percent in January

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JUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January, unchanged from December’s revised rate. The comparable national rate was 4.9 percent.

The not-seasonally adjusted rate was 7.3 percent, up six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Large swings in the unadjusted rate are typical in January.

Rates increased in 24 out of 29 Alaska’s boroughs and census areas, and jumped by more than a percentage point in 17. The most dramatic was the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, where the rate climbed 3.9 percentage points. The Kusilvak Census Area had the highest January rate at 23.9 percent.

Most of the five areas that bucked the seasonal higher unemployment trend are heavily influenced by the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries, which kick off in January.

January’s job growth was dampened by losses in the oil and gas and construction industries and in state government. There were about 1,000 fewer oil industry jobs in Anchorage and the Northern and Gulf Coast regions in January than in January 2015. Construction losses were spread across the state, with the majority in Southcentral and Interior. The largest state government job losses were in Southeast, followed by Anchorage and the Interior.

Growth in federal and local government combined with private-sector growth in health care, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality nearly offset losses, resulting in fairly flat total employment in the first month of 2016, compared to a year earlier.

Revised employment and unemployment data for 2015 and earlier are now available at http://laborstats.alaska.gov/.

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