What we do makes a difference to the people of Alaska. “When I get emails like that, that rings alarm bells.”. “One person said, ‘I hope the depression doesn’t get the best of me,’” Tarr said. By. The extra payment that didn’t come last week, as expected, was difficult for his family, he said. To file a claim and to manage your account, go here and create an online account. Alaska Job Center Network. … Byrd, seen in … myAlaska Login Username: Forgot my Username: Forgot my Password: New User: Register for a myAlaska Account The complaints aren’t universal. Juneau-based James Brooks covers state government, the Alaska Legislature and general assignments for the Daily News. “This is over a week into calling, and I still have yet to get through to anybody.”. Gov. The Alaska unemployment rate has been fluctuating over the last decade. “They should have sat people down and handwritten the damn checks.”. “It’s outdated, it’s outmoded, and in the manner that the feds want us to distribute the money, right now it’s not working with the system. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Claims for unemployment benefits have risen sharply in Alaska as concerns over the coronavirus ripple through the state, officials said Thursday. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if you’d like to communicate with us about a particular article. “We are telling the state, keep your promise, do your job,” Patterson, 30, said of the rally. The statement from Alaska’s labor department provided some explanations for the challenges on Friday: • The Lost Wages program is not part of the Unemployment Insurance program. In 2000, the Alaska unemployment rate was around 6.2%. On March 27, President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which would boost the maximum unemployment payment by $600, cover self-employed workers normally ineligible and extend the period that Alaskans can claim unemployment. myAlaska Help For assistance with your myAlaska account, 1-866-377-0126 Check out the myAlaska FAQs. Alaska Unemployment. (That peak was less than a third of the current weekly volume.). But if Alaskans run into a problem with that online process, they see a prompt that tells them to call the Department of Labor, and that has been a problem for many. He said he’s buying and repairing old washers, dryers and other appliances he finds on Craigslist to make enough to pay for food and gas for his vehicle. Biden blocks drilling in ANWR, among his first acts as president, Bernie and his mittens travel Alaska, in meme form, Alaska development bank forecloses on oil field assets after $70 million investment, Alaska Gov. Alaska will continue to update our information concerning the CARES Act as it becomes available. AlaskaJobs is accessed through myAlaska and you will need a … The boost would come on top of the regular weekly unemployment payment, which averaged about $250 before the pandemic began. The department erred when it said the money would go out last week but did not deliver, she said. [Earlier coverage: Tens of thousands of Alaskans await $300 weekly unemployment boost as state blames tech glitches]. The supplement, known as Lost Wages Assistance, was approved by President Donald Trump in August, using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Michael Patterson, 30, said he helped organized a caravan protest with the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Anchorage on Friday afternoon to highlight the need for the payments to get out. Principal Causes of the Unemployment Problem. Alaskans applying for unemployment say they’re feeling frustrated by clogged phone lines, uncertain regulations and a confusing application process. Tarr has pressed the state for quick delivery of the money. Northwest Arctic Borough, AK unemployment … Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Professions in state government help support many aspects of life in the Last Frontier including healthcare, protection of citizens, and preserving natural resources, just to name a few. “Income verification, USDOL reporting agreements, staff training, and a new requirement to deduct federal withholding tax are currently in the works. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, was commissioner of the state Department of Labor in 2010, the last time unemployment applications peaked. Register With the Department of Labor. 6,933 jobs available in Alaska on Indeed.com. Please do not attempt to contact the UI claim centers … “If I don’t get my unemployment, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Moody said. “They’re so, so flooded with people.”. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. “The best thing people can do with unemployment claims right now is file online,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage and chair of the Alaska House’s committee on labor and commerce. It is going to take them one, to three to four weeks on the outside to get this running. If it tried, the money would not be reimbursed. In Alaska, you can file an unemployment benefits claim either online or by phone. Since 2005 the unemployment rate in Alaska has ranged from 5.2% in August 1998 to 13.7% in April 2020. The state labor department on Friday continued to describe the delayed payments as a problem involving information technology associated with the department’s existing computer systems and the requirement for a new payment system from the U.S. Department of Labor. ’Patience, ’ she said, was key. That will … The U.S. Department of Labor has required that Alaska not mingle the federal emergency money with funds from the state’s $323 million unemployment trust fund. Since the pandemic began, he lost work as a carpet cleaner, and his fiancee lost her job as a bartender. Unemployment Insurance Benefits has sent you here to sign in. Money Problems: Housing: Seniors: Life Planning: Health Care & Public Benefits: Native American Issues: Victims' Rights : Using Tribal Court: Find Legal Help; Classrooms; Search. Rachael Byrd, who was general manager of Juneau’s Salt restaurant, said she applied March 22 but ran into an issue. “An additional 75 staff will be hired this week,” Ledbetter wrote by email. We then looked at the unemployment rates to determine the … Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com. In Kodiak, Moody first filed for partial aid because he was told that his hours were being reduced. “At that time, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the program would be operational in six to eight weeks,” she said. She said she had the best luck calling the statewide toll-free number. As an Alaska employer, your small business must establish an Alaska UI tax account with the Alaska Department of Labor (AKDOL). People who are out of work should reach out to the department’s reemployment services, Ledbetter said. The state continues to cite technology issues as the reason for the delay. Take Our Survey and Tell Us What You Think! Hans Moody had worked for RavnAir, loading and unloading aircraft in Kodiak for 23 years. “Many are surprised to learn of the full range of employment and training services available,” she said. This time around, Bishop said his former agency is also “looking at doing an accelerated version” of training for new workers. See how other local areas compare by using our Unemployment Compare tool. Three weeks ago, department officials said Alaskans could leave call-back numbers if they didn’t want to wait on hold, but the number of calls has grown so large that even that system has been overwhelmed. Alaska is assessing President Trump’s Executive Order issued August 8th which potentially extends additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. “All applicants who previously received notification that their application was incomplete due to the actively seeking work requirement will be notified this week that their applications are approved,” she said. “It was a really frustrating call,” he said. Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said Wednesday that “there are approximately 100 staff currently assigned to the processing of unemployment insurance claims.”. A Guide to Alaska Unemployment Insurance. Heidi Drygas, an attorney who led the state labor department under former Gov. AK Highest Unemployment by County. “It’s been a really long time since Alaskans saw the $600 benefit,” and they need to pay bills, she said. [More than 36,000 Alaskans file jobless claims in 3 weeks as coronavirus stifles the economy]. She got her first deposit Wednesday. Alaskans out of work due to COVID-19 can fall back on unemployment for the next few months. “When I was commissioner during the Great Recession in 2008, we had one room on the second floor dedicated just for a classroom, training new claims takers,” he said. Alaska unemployment claims skyrocket after coronavirus shuts down restaurants. Mike Dunleavy said in a press conference on Wednesday that the state is working urgently to get the payments out. Many more Alaskans are believed to be out of work but have not filed for one reason or another. Relief and retroactive payments are coming, they say, but many Alaskans worry whether it will come in time for them to pay bills. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — … Now, callers say they’re hearing a prerecorded message that disconnects the phone line at the end. Skagway Municipality, AK unemployment rate . Also, you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. Alaska law provides severe penalties for attempting to collect benefits fraudulently. When additional information is available we will update this message. (James Brooks / ADN). Though many changes are still in the works, Ledbetter said the department has already eliminated the requirement that Alaskans prove they are seeking work while unemployed and has waived a one-week waiting period for benefits. That includes normal technicians, people the department has reassigned, and six former employees who came out of retirement to help. A U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, Patterson said his family, including three children, are scraping by on his veteran benefits and the small unemployment check his fiancee currently receives. Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. (James Brooks / ADN), The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor are seen Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Juneau. That’s what happened to Kendra Skultka of Sitka, a former commercial fisherman who worked at a restaurant until it closed during the coronavirus pandemic. While many have reported problems, Filiori said she was successful applying online and reaching unemployment experts by phone. An entirely new system must be built with separate accounting and financial reporting requirements. New coding is required. The state labor department is getting increasing pressure to distribute the money. “CARES program coverage for the self employed will be operational in the next 3 to 4 weeks,” Ledbetter wrote by email. All rights reserved. Bill Walker, said the unemployment insurance program is staffed with long-term employees who are committed to doing a good job. Meanwhile, the state agency in charge of unemployment has been scrambling to hire workers, upgrade equipment and implement a swath of rule changes ordered by elected state and federal officials. 36,211 people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, Biden blocks drilling in ANWR, among his first acts as president, Bernie and his mittens travel Alaska, in meme form, Alaska development bank forecloses on oil field assets after $70 million investment, Alaska Gov. In the past three weeks, 36,211 people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, or more than 10% of all workers in the state of Alaska at this point in the year. A separate phone line, 1-866-377-0126, has been set up to help people who have technical problems with the online application system, rather than their particular application. According to the BLS current population survey (CPS), the unemployment rate for Alaska rose 2.2 percentage points in November 2020 to 8.1%.The state unemployment rate was 1.4 percentage points higher than the national rate for the month. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating for (workers) too, because they’re breaking new ground. In Kodiak, Moody even tried the department’s fax number, without response so far. But when they take care of their own child, they are not considered part … She also said that anyone whose application is delayed will receive retroactive payments effective as of the date they lost their job or had their hours reduced, back to March 1. A video of 66 months of Alaska unemployment in 66 seconds, from January 2007 through June 2012. This problem of how we count people’s activities in Alaska is incremental to the problems with the unemployment rate as a statistic everywhere. It’s a scary and frustrating situation and more communication about it from the state would be nice,” she said. When he tried to update his application, the online process prompted him to call. 19.1%. On Thursday, for example, the Alaska Department of Labor said Alaskans can apply weekly for unemployment, instead of every two weeks, as had been the practice before now. Once operational, individuals may be eligible for $600 per week, plus the a state benefit which will closely mirror the current coverage for insured workers.”. Drygas, the former labor commissioner, said the pandemic has highlighted how the state’s unemployment benefits are “painfully low,” inadequate for rent and other high costs in Alaska, she said. There also are separate numbers for claim centers in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. The state labor department said it works with multiple entities to provide employment and training information at 14 Alaska job centers statewide, and job seekers can call 877-724-2539 for more information. On Sunday, he learned along with the rest of the state that Alaska’s largest rural airline had declared bankruptcy. Barrow Unemployment Office: 1078 Kiogak Street, PO Box 949, Barrow, AK 99723 (907) 852-4111: Bristol Bay (Dillingham) Unemployment Office: 503 Wood River Rd., PO Box 1149 Dillingham, AK 99576-1149 (907) 842-5579: Eagle River Unemployment Office: 11723 Old Glenn Hwy, Sp B-4 Eagle River, AK 99577-7749 (907) 694-6904: Fairbanks Unemployment Office But the Alaska job market is still in the doldrums, with unemployment the highest in the nation at 7.3 percent, even while nearly 9,000 people left in the last year. Learn about … Once you find yourself in financial trouble getting yourself out of it is no easy task at all. Alex Meier, a private attorney in Atlanta focusing on pandemic assistance for Seyfarth Shaw, an international law firm that deals with labor and employment issues, said that as far as he knows, Alaska is the last of the 49 approved states to distribute the payments. On Friday, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development announced that the COVID-19 small business grants program was being expanded. This left us with 23 places in Alaska. “If there is any tiny shred of silver lining to this pandemic, I think folks are beginning to recognize that Alaska’s UI benefits are significantly lagging behind and it needs to increase," Drygas said. But programming issues have been a problem in the past, and there would be challenges with standing up a new system for a service that’s heavily regulated by the federal government, she said. Several beneficiaries awaiting the supplement have reached out to the Daily News in recent weeks, expressing frustration with the lack of payments needed for rent, food and other expenses, after the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread layoffs. How We Determined The Cities In Alaska With The Lowest Unemployment Rates Before we could dive into what Alaska’s most employed cities were, we needed to know where to look in the first place. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. “We understand that many Alaskans are in a very difficult financial situation, and we are working to get payments out as soon as possible,” said Tamika Ledbetter, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, in a statement released early Friday afternoon. The current unemployment rate for Alaska is 6.4% for August 2020. In 2010, it took four to six weeks to train additional staff needed to process claims. That many in rural Alaska still rely on the subsistence economy for many of their needs is one of the most important reasons. Bob Allain, a heating systems installer from Palmer who has been laid off for seven months, said his $1,800 will be spent as soon as it arrives to catch up on recent months of unpaid heating, electric and other bills. “I kept calling and calling, never getting through — days in a row,” she said. He needs a “roundabout date” to tell bill collectors when he can pay, he said, and the wait has been frustrating. Lex Treinen, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage - March 19, 2020. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With less than a week remaining before Alaska’s state lawmakers gavel in for the start of the 32nd Legislature, small business owners in Alaska are making it known they there is a list of priorities that they want to see addressed before the end of session.. Thor Stacey, the director of Alaska’s chapter of the National Federation of … Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. To access employment and training resources we encourage the use of our online resources at www.jobs.alaska.gov or you may contact your local job center at (877) 724-2539 to speak to a job center representative. This is down from a high of 8.9 percent in 1992. In 2019, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1 percent. Gov. All rights reserved. To apply online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, go to my.alaska.gov and click on “Unemployment Insurance Benefits”. From then until Spring of 2007, the Alaska unemployment rate went down to an all time low of 5.9% for that decade. It then began a slow but steady recovery that reached a low of 3.5% in February 2020. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday that payments will go out as soon as possible. Search site Advanced Search. That extra payment was authorized for Alaskans who care for children or dependent adults. But on Friday, it was still unknown when the money — representing up to six weeks of $300 extra payments — would arrive. You can register for an account with AKDOL either online or on paper. U.S. unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent last month, well within the range considered to be full employment by federal agencies that monitor such data. In April, after governments shut down the economy, the unemployment rate reached 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression. Reports of Fraud or suspicion can be reported by email at uifraud@alaska.gov; fax at (907) 269-4835; or phone at (907) 269-4880 or toll free at (877) 272-4635. This new payment, designed to help offset the loss of that $600 federal payment, will be made in one lump sum of up to $1,800, the statement said. “In the age of instant everything, they take months and months,” he said. A form to help you do so can be found on Alaska's unemployment website. The state of Alaska is ranked 2nd in Unemployment Offices per capita, and 41st in Unemployment Offices per square mile. There are 18 Unemployment Offices in Alaska, serving a population of 738,565 people in an area of 570,488 square miles.There is 1 Unemployment Office per 41,031 people, and 1 Unemployment Office per 31,693 square miles.. Symaron George of Haines said her online application, filed March 30, went through “without a problem,” but she was disappointed that her payment did not include a promised federal stimulus or an extra payment approved by legislators. The Legislature has increased the payments only on rare occasions over the past two decades, she said. We settled upon any place with over 2,000 people and data available for our criteria. The next day, he was told he didn’t have a job at all. Claims are effective Sunday of the week in which you open or reopen it. You must continue to file bi-weekly (every 2 weeks). Published April 9, 2020 Rachael Byrd of Juneau is one of more than 30,000 Alaskans who have applied for unemployment in the past few weeks. This value went up to 7.8% in the summer of 2003. TeachMeFinance.com presents the Alaska Unemployment Map, by county, not seasonally adjusted. “We have no failsafe, no backup plan,” he said. “Right now, the phone system only allows 250 calls at a time,” Spohnholz said. Once it does, it will be efficient,” Bishop said. Beau Sylte of Sitka said that can’t come soon enough. There are multiple reasons that many Alaska Natives have not gained meaningful entry into the cash economy. • The current unemployment system is designed for funds to be disbursed only through that system. “These issues will all be fought out in state legislatures,” he said. Byrd, seen in her apartment Thursday, April 9, 2020, said she has been unable to reach unemployment officials by phone and is frustrated by changing rules and regulations. “My unemployment just barely covered my electric with $20 left over for two weeks. With rent and other bills coming due for Alaskans, the state has still not distributed the maximum $1,800 federal boost to unemployment benefits that tens of thousands of residents have been counting on. Another is that some live in locations appropriate to a subsistence economy that have not yet become, and may never be, viable in a Western cash economy in the long … Apply to Processor, Receptionist, Talent Bank Employee - Positions Available Are: Full Time -- Part Time -- On Call and more! Three weeks ago, anticipating the surge to come, state officials urged Alaskans to file for unemployment online. For example, if two stay-at-home parents tended to each other’s children and were paid equal wages, they would both be considered employed. If you are unable to file online, you can file by phone using the automated filing system … “That’s just nowhere near enough.”.  Since then, it gradually improved as businesses have attempted to reopen safely, … Approval for a six-week program in Alaska came in early September, Ledbetter said in the statement. That remains the advice today. “You can’t get through,” she said. He managed to get through by phone but said that as a self-employed freelancer, the system wasn’t ready for him. You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 3. The unemployment rate in Alaska peaked in April 2020 at 13.5% and is now 5.4 percentage points lower. Unemployment is one of the most critical economic issues facing the country as it balances re-opening with safety months into the pandemic. The program needs a mechanism so payments rise with inflation, she said. The state cannot pay people the extra money by using money from the unemployment insurance trust fund. Click to enter AlaskaJobs The AlaskaJobs system has replaced ALEXsys. “Our hardware, software system to be able to distribute those checks, we’re having a problem with it,” he said. Apply for State Jobs. So we’re looking at putting some patches in pretty quick.”. Once registered, you’ll be issued … Also, Alaska often refers to Employment Security Tax (EST) rather than unemployment insurance tax. Spohnholz said she was told the agency is also upgrading its phone and computer systems. Drygas, the former labor commissioner, said the pandemic has highlighted how the state’s unemployment benefits are “painfully low,” inadequate for rent and other high costs in Alaska, she said. 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