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Alaska’s unemployment rate

July 24, 2013

The Alaska seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 6.1%, up two-tenths of a percentage point from May. The US national average remained unchanged at 7.6%.

The Alaska Department of Labor/stats also revealed Bristol Bay Borough and the Municipality of Skagway had the lowest rates in the state, tied at 1.8%.  The Bureau of Labor uses U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate) as the way it measures unemployment.

An alternative measure is U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. The United States U6 unemployment rate, however, shot up to 14.3% from 13.8%. The U6 rate includes people who can only find part-time work or have become too discouraged to look for a job. Using the U6 measure Alaska’s unemployment rate would be about 12.7%.


Alaska’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Unfortunately, the decline in the US unemployment rate (U3) over the last two years is largely attributable to a lower participation rate. The official stats belie a weak economy.