Alaska's population decreases for second year

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Alaska's population has declined for the second year in a row. A report released Thursday by the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows about 7,500 residents left the state, while Alaska gained roughly 5,900 people from July 2017 to July 2018.

Many residents tend to head to Washington state where the unemployment rate was at 4.3 percent in November. According to the Associated Press, some residents left to pursue job opportunities outside the state, as unemployment rates have consistently topped 6 percent in Alaska over the last two years. The national average was 3.7 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Alaska has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.3 percent as of November 2017.

The largest population losses were recorded in Anchorage and the North Star Borough. The Fairbanks area lost 734 people, bringing the population to 97,121 residents. The decline was slower than the year before. The state’s population decreased by 2,629 people from 2016 to 2017, marking the first decline in 29 years. Anchorage’s population fell by 2,386 people, bringing the total down to 295,365. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough continues to be the fastest growing region of the state, adding 1,355 people. It now has 105,743 residents.

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