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The Associated Press May 18, 2012, 12:33PM ET

Alaska unemployment hits 6.9 percent

Alaska's unemployment rate last month dropped to 6.9 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.

The state labor department says the preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate is slightly lower than March, when unemployment stood at 7 percent. Unemployment in April 2011 stood at 7.5 percent.

Alaska's rate hasn't been below 7 percent since December 2008, when it stood at 6.8 percent.

The labor department says that while unemployment rates have declined both nationally and in Alaska in recent months, the U.S. rate, unlike that in Alaska, remains higher than before the recession.

The department says Alaska also quickly recovered from what it calls mild jobs losses in 2009, and that preliminary estimates call for modest job growth in the state this year.

The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent.

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