Here's how unemployment in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska compares

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February 13, 2024

Here's how unemployment in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska compares

Northwest Arctic Borough's unemployment rate in December was 9.7%—ranked #6 highest out of 30 in the state.

Nationally, unemployment has leveled with pre-COVID rates, measuring between 3.5% and 4% for most of the past two years. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed a 3.7% unemployment rate in January. Previously, unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7% at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, and those rates remained elevated through late 2021.

Though national unemployment has mostly normalized, local economies vary widely. Stacker used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to analyze unemployment in Northwest Arctic Borough over time, and how it stacks up within Alaska and across the nation.

The unemployment rate in Northwest Arctic Borough is 6.0 percentage points above the national level, and 5.2 percentage points above the state level. It ranks #6 among boroughs in Alaska—ranked first by the preliminary December 2023 unemployment rate, then breaking ties by the number of unemployed people. It trails behind Haines Borough, with an unemployment rate of 9.8%, but surpasses Copper River Census Area (9.4%).

In real terms, it means an estimated 268 of Northwest Arctic Borough's approximately 2,767 working residents are out of a job at the moment. That's 4 more than last month and 26 more than a year ago. Some economists fret another recession may be on the horizon, which would drive unemployment up with business closures and layoffs.

This story was produced using automation across 3,100 counties, boroughs, and parishes, based on writing and data reporting by Paxtyn Merten.

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