Story last updated at 12/24/2008 - 10:51 am
Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in November to 7.3 percent, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
October's rate was revised down two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.2 percent. The November increase is not big enough to be statistically significant in itself, but it's still revealing.
After an unexpectedly large increase in October's unemployment rate, it wasn't clear whether the jump signaled a change in trend, or whether the increase was just a temporary spike caused by volatility in the survey that helps generate the rates.
The second straight month of rates above 7 percent makes it more likely that unemployment is on the rise. November claims for unemployment insurance were about 10 percent higher than in November 2007, after being up 9 percent in October and 3 percent in September.
National unemployment rates have been on a clear upward trend for almost a year. November's 6.7 percent U.S. rate was two full percentage points higher than November 2007's 4.7 percent.
U.S. payroll jobs, the other major indicator of labor force health, were down by more than 2 million over-the-year in November, a decline of 1.5 percent.
Payroll jobs in Alaska were up 3,300 during the year, an increase of 1.1 percent.
According to Dan Robinson, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor, the state's growth in payroll jobs continues to mark an important difference between Alaska's economy and the nation's.
"One of the main signals that an economy is in recession is the loss of payroll jobs," he said. "Alaska's economy has held up well so far in that respect."