An update to the peninsula’s unemployment rate was announced at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.
Tim Dillon, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development Inc., said the area’s unemployment rate is 9 percent. He was optimistic and said that many retail stores are hiring to prepare for the busy holiday shopping season.
“Home Depot is hiring. Walmart is hiring. Fred Meyer is hiring — a lot of those kinds of places,” Dillon said.
He said driving schools have seen a rise in people trying to get their CDL licenses. Enrollment in the Alaska Petroleum Academy, where people can get professional training in petroleum vocational education, health, safety and emergency response, has also increased, he said.
“It’s not where we want it to be yet, but as the price of oil climbs, people are going to be willing to make more investment,” Dillon said.
According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, at the beginning of 2018, the Kenai Peninsula Borough had an unemplpyment rate between 10.1 and 10.3 percent. During the summer months this year, the unemployment rate fluctuated between 7.1 and 5.8 percent.