Alaska Drops Statewide Preferential Hire

Alaska labor officials have dropped statewide preferential hiring of residents for public jobs

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by Associated Press

ANCHORAGE- Alaska labor officials have dropped statewide preferential hiring of residents for public jobs, saying that including larger cities can no longer be justified because they have healthier economies than communities still eligible for employment preference.
Officials say 15 areas still qualify as "zones of underemployment" because their unemployment rates are at least 10 percent higher than the national rate.
Under state law, those zones qualify for at least 90 percent of state jobs in various trades.
Officials say Alaska had a higher unemployment rate until several years ago, when the rate dipped below the national rate.
The Alaska Democratic Party criticizes the change implemented Friday as political, saying the state has long been on shaky legal ground because of the improved economy, but chose to make the changes only now.