Boroughs with the highest unemployment in Alaska

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April 8, 2024
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Boroughs with the highest unemployment in Alaska

While today's unemployment rates are significantly lower than the COVID-19 pandemic peak of 14.7% experienced in April 2020, the fear of job losses remains as workers stare down an uncertain economic future.

Stacker compiled a list of boroughs with the highest unemployment rates in Alaska using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Boroughs are ranked by their preliminary unemployment rate in February 2024, with initial ties broken by the number of unemployed people within that borough, though some ties may remain. Borough-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Experts are mixed in their views of a potential recession. The return of student loan payments, continually high gas prices, persistent inflation, and insurance price escalations are just a few of the factors that could limit consumer spending and potentially prompt another recession.

The last economic recession before the pandemic—the Great Recession of 2007-09—sent unemployment rates up to 10% as of October 2009, and a full recovery took years.

But as of March 2024, the national unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.8%—down slightly from the previous month. Regional and state employment varies widely depending on local economies. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates by state demonstrate a rather sizable spectrum, ranging from just 2% in North Dakota to 5.3% in California.

Read on to see the boroughs with the highest unemployment in Alaska.

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#30. Aleutians West Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.4%
--- 1-month change: Down 1.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,898 people (117 unemployed)

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#29. Aleutians East Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.6%
--- 1-month change: Down 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,836 people (75 unemployed)

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#28. Sitka Borough/city

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,078 people (176 unemployed)

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#27. Juneau Borough/city

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 16,427 people (707 unemployed)

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#26. Anchorage Borough/municipality

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 151,815 people (6,751 unemployed)

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#25. Fairbanks North Star Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 45,419 people (2,240 unemployed)

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#24. Kodiak Island Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.0%
--- 1-month change: Down 2.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,805 people (293 unemployed)

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#23. North Slope Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,378 people (185 unemployed)

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#22. Ketchikan Gateway Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 6,063 people (341 unemployed)

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#21. Matanuska-Susitna Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 50,249 people (3,183 unemployed)

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#20. Petersburg Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.8%
--- 1-month change: Down 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,294 people (88 unemployed)

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#19. Kenai Peninsula Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 7.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 26,607 people (1,868 unemployed)

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#18. Wrangell Borough/city

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 7.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 842 people (60 unemployed)

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#17. Southeast Fairbanks Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 7.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,323 people (245 unemployed)

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#16. Lake and Peninsula Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 7.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 546 people (42 unemployed)

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#15. Chugach Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 8.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,978 people (260 unemployed)

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#14. Dillingham Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 9.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 3.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,592 people (145 unemployed)

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#13. Nome Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 9.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,449 people (412 unemployed)

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#12. Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 9.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,521 people (240 unemployed)

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#11. Bristol Bay Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 9.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Down 0.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 245 people (24 unemployed)

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#10. Yakutat Borough/city

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 11.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 2.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 289 people (33 unemployed)

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#9. Copper River Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 11.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,194 people (141 unemployed)

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#8. Northwest Arctic Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 11.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,021 people (355 unemployed)

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#7. Hoonah-Angoon Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 12.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,005 people (123 unemployed)

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#6. Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 12.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,363 people (291 unemployed)

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#5. Haines Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 12.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 903 people (112 unemployed)

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#4. Bethel Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 12.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 3.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 6,796 people (843 unemployed)

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#3. Denali Borough

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 14.0%
--- 1-month change: Down 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 601 people (84 unemployed)

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#2. Skagway Municipality

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 17.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 2.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 545 people (95 unemployed)

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#1. Kusilvak Census Area

- February unemployment rate (preliminary): 18.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 4.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,471 people (445 unemployed)

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

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