Please do not attempt to contact the UI claim centers … “We have no failsafe, no backup plan,” he said. As an Alaska employer, your small business must establish an Alaska UI tax account with the Alaska Department of Labor (AKDOL). This problem of how we count people’s activities in Alaska is incremental to the problems with the unemployment rate as a statistic everywhere. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com. Close to 40,000 Alaskans have received weekly unemployment benefits in October, about 12% of the workforce, according to the state labor department. In Kodiak, Moody first filed for partial aid because he was told that his hours were being reduced. Since the pandemic began, he lost work as a carpet cleaner, and his fiancee lost her job as a bartender. The state of Alaska is ranked 2nd in Unemployment Offices per capita, and 41st in Unemployment Offices per square mile. “An additional 75 staff will be hired this week,” Ledbetter wrote by email. The current unemployment rate for Alaska is 6.4% for August 2020. 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. Cathy Muñoz, deputy commissioner for the department, said on Oct. 12 that the payments, covering a six-week period, would begin last week. (James Brooks / ADN). “Right now, the phone system only allows 250 calls at a time,” Spohnholz said. New coding is required.  Since then, it gradually improved as businesses have attempted to reopen safely, … The Legislature has increased the payments only on rare occasions over the past two decades, she said. 6,933 jobs available in Alaska on Indeed.com. Juneau-based James Brooks covers state government, the Alaska Legislature and general assignments for the Daily News. Claims are effective Sunday of the week in which you open or reopen it. 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. While many have reported problems, Filiori said she was successful applying online and reaching unemployment experts by phone. Skagway Municipality, AK unemployment rate . 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. The state continues to cite technology issues as the reason for the delay. What we do makes a difference to the people of Alaska. myAlaska Login Username: Forgot my Username: Forgot my Password: New User: Register for a myAlaska Account AlaskaJobs is accessed through myAlaska and you will need a … 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 it tried, the money would not be reimbursed. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, was commissioner of the state Department of Labor in 2010, the last time unemployment applications peaked. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating for (workers) too, because they’re breaking new ground. Unemployment is one of the most critical economic issues facing the country as it balances re-opening with safety months into the pandemic. Apply to Processor, Receptionist, Talent Bank Employee - Positions Available Are: Full Time -- Part Time -- On Call and more! “This is over a week into calling, and I still have yet to get through to anybody.”. This time around, Bishop said his former agency is also “looking at doing an accelerated version” of training for new workers. [More than 36,000 Alaskans file jobless claims in 3 weeks as coronavirus stifles the economy]. Also, you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. (James Brooks / ADN). Rachael Byrd, who was general manager of Juneau’s Salt restaurant, said she applied March 22 but ran into an issue. Home>Get Legal Info>Coronavirus (COVID-19) Back to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Unemployment (COVID-19) Legal Information (1) Legal Help Directory; Filter By: Language. 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 … Also, Alaska often refers to Employment Security Tax (EST) rather than unemployment insurance tax. 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. You must continue to file bi-weekly (every 2 weeks). Once it does, it will be efficient,” Bishop said. “These issues will all be fought out in state legislatures,” he said. “When I get emails like that, that rings alarm bells.”. Alaska unemployment claims skyrocket after coronavirus shuts down restaurants. “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. Bill Walker, said the unemployment insurance program is staffed with long-term employees who are committed to doing a good job. 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. 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. Meier said only South Dakota did not apply for the unique relief program. Rachael Byrd of Juneau is one of more than 30,000 Alaskans who have applied for unemployment in the past few weeks. The state is in the “final stages” of testing the payments, the statement said. The program needs a mechanism so payments rise with inflation, she said. Byrd, seen in … There are multiple reasons that many Alaska Natives have not gained meaningful entry into the cash economy. Relief and retroactive payments are coming, they say, but many Alaskans worry whether it will come in time for them to pay bills. ’Patience, ’ she said, was key. The extra payment that didn’t come last week, as expected, was difficult for his family, he said. Click to enter AlaskaJobs The AlaskaJobs system has replaced ALEXsys. Now, callers say they’re hearing a prerecorded message that disconnects the phone line at the end. “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. Three weeks ago, anticipating the surge to come, state officials urged Alaskans to file for unemployment online. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — … “You can’t get through,” she said. A more generous unemployment insurance system may require bypassing states’ incentives. Many more Alaskans are believed to be out of work but have not filed for one reason or another. AK Highest Unemployment by County. In Kodiak, Moody even tried the department’s fax number, without response so far. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. You can register for an account with AKDOL either online or on paper. 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. In Alaska, you can file an unemployment benefits claim either online or by phone. On Sunday, he learned along with the rest of the state that Alaska’s largest rural airline had declared bankruptcy. Alaska law provides severe penalties for attempting to collect benefits fraudulently. 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. The state labor department is getting increasing pressure to distribute the money. From then until Spring of 2007, the Alaska unemployment rate went down to an all time low of 5.9% for that decade. TeachMeFinance.com presents the Alaska Unemployment Map, by county, not seasonally adjusted. 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. 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. All rights reserved. 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. “They should have sat people down and handwritten the damn checks.”. 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. (James Brooks / ADN), The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor are seen Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Juneau. 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. (That peak was less than a third of the current weekly volume.). He managed to get through by phone but said that as a self-employed freelancer, the system wasn’t ready for him. “One person said, ‘I hope the depression doesn’t get the best of me,’” Tarr said. This left us with 23 places in Alaska. A record number of people are applying for unemployment benefits as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and state systems are struggling to withstand the traffic. “Many are surprised to learn of the full range of employment and training services available,” she said. 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. In 2010, it took four to six weeks to train additional staff needed to process claims. … 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. The department erred when it said the money would go out last week but did not deliver, she said. “In the age of instant everything, they take months and months,” he said. It then began a slow but steady recovery that reached a low of 3.5% in February 2020. The unemployment rate peaked at around 10% following the 2008–09 financial crisis. The boost would come on top of the regular weekly unemployment payment, which averaged about $250 before the pandemic began. 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. That extra payment was authorized for Alaskans who care for children or dependent adults. Gov. 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. Money Problems: Housing: Seniors: Life Planning: Health Care & Public Benefits: Native American Issues: Victims' Rights : Using Tribal Court: Find Legal Help; Classrooms; Search. Employment with the State of Alaska is more than just a job. 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. Mike Dunleavy said in a press conference on Wednesday that the state is working urgently to get the payments out. Principal Causes of the Unemployment Problem. A form to help you do so can be found on Alaska's unemployment website. It’s a scary and frustrating situation and more communication about it from the state would be nice,” she said. “I would tell people to keep calling. When additional information is available we will update this message. “It’s been a really long time since Alaskans saw the $600 benefit,” and they need to pay bills, she said. The state cannot pay people the extra money by using money from the unemployment insurance trust fund. Alaska will continue to update our information concerning the CARES Act as it becomes available. She said she had the best luck calling the statewide toll-free number. This value went up to 7.8% in the summer of 2003. Alaskans out of work due to COVID-19 can fall back on unemployment for the next few months. Learn about … Once you find yourself in financial trouble getting yourself out of it is no easy task at all. “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. This is down from a high of 8.9 percent in 1992. That many in rural Alaska still rely on the subsistence economy for many of their needs is one of the most important reasons. 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. 3. 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 “My unemployment just barely covered my electric with $20 left over for two weeks. But on Friday, it was still unknown when the money — representing up to six weeks of $300 extra payments — would arrive. When he tried to update his application, the online process prompted him to call. Unemployment Insurance Benefits has sent you here to sign in. 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. myAlaska Help For assistance with your myAlaska account, 1-866-377-0126 Check out the myAlaska FAQs. 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. Alaska Unemployment. Search site Advanced Search. “It was a really frustrating call,” he said. Lex Treinen, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage - March 19, 2020. Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said Wednesday that “there are approximately 100 staff currently assigned to the processing of unemployment insurance claims.”. Alaska Job Center Network. “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. Approval for a six-week program in Alaska came in early September, Ledbetter said in the statement. There also are separate numbers for claim centers in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. Take Our Survey and Tell Us What You Think! He previously reported and edited for the Juneau Empire, Kodiak Daily Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 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. That includes normal technicians, people the department has reassigned, and six former employees who came out of retirement to help. That will … A video of 66 months of Alaska unemployment in 66 seconds, from January 2007 through June 2012. Starting Aug. 6, commercial fishermen across Alaska can apply for grants worth between $5,000 and $100,000. • The previous $600 weekly federal benefit that ended in late July was disbursed through the traditional unemployment insurance system. If you are unable to file online, you can file by phone using the automated filing system … She got her first deposit Wednesday. Amanda Filori, a Juneau artist, offered a handful of tips that she said worked for her: Call early (call centers open at 9 a.m.), wait on hold, be polite and read the unemployment pamphlet before calling. 19.1%. 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. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. “Our hardware, software system to be able to distribute those checks, we’re having a problem with it,” he said. In 2019, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1 percent. The supplement, known as Lost Wages Assistance, was approved by President Donald Trump in August, using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Alaska is assessing President Trump’s Executive Order issued August 8th which potentially extends additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Hans Moody had worked for RavnAir, loading and unloading aircraft in Kodiak for 23 years. “Income verification, USDOL reporting agreements, staff training, and a new requirement to deduct federal withholding tax are currently in the works. It is going to take them one, to three to four weeks on the outside to get this running. 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. State Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, said some Alaskans have contacted her, asking with increasing desperation when the payment will come through. “CARES program coverage for the self employed will be operational in the next 3 to 4 weeks,” Ledbetter wrote by email. But when they take care of their own child, they are not considered part … So we’re looking at putting some patches in pretty quick.”. You must actively seek employment, while keeping a record of your work search activities. You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People who are out of work should reach out to the department’s reemployment services, Ledbetter said. We then looked at the unemployment rates to determine the … The Alaska unemployment rate has been fluctuating over the last decade. Tarr has pressed the state for quick delivery of the money. 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. … Report UI fraud. 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. 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. • The current unemployment system is designed for funds to be disbursed only through that system. [Earlier coverage: Tens of thousands of Alaskans await $300 weekly unemployment boost as state blames tech glitches]. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday that payments will go out as soon as possible. “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. Northwest Arctic Borough, AK unemployment … 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. Moody, whose wife is collecting disability, joined more than 30,000 Alaskans who have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks. By. Register With the Department of Labor. Heidi Drygas, an attorney who led the state labor department under former Gov. 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. Alaskans applying for unemployment say they’re feeling frustrated by clogged phone lines, uncertain regulations and a confusing application process. 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. 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.”. “At that time, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the program would be operational in six to eight weeks,” she said. In 2000, the Alaska unemployment rate was around 6.2%. In April, after governments shut down the economy, the unemployment rate reached 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression. 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. To file a claim and to manage your account, go here and create an online account. “If I don’t get my unemployment, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Moody said. “I kept calling and calling, never getting through — days in a row,” she said. Apply for State Jobs. With 40,000 Alaskans on unemployment and 90,000 having received assistance this year, we are in unprecedented territory. Once registered, you’ll be issued … A Guide to Alaska Unemployment Insurance. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. The complaints aren’t universal. 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. 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. 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. 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. That remains the advice today. 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. On Friday, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development announced that the COVID-19 small business grants program was being expanded. See how other local areas compare by using our Unemployment Compare tool. The unemployment rate in Alaska peaked in April 2020 at 13.5% and is now 5.4 percentage points lower. 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 … Spohnholz said she was told the agency is also upgrading its phone and computer systems. “That’s just nowhere near enough.”. Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. The next day, he was told he didn’t have a job at all. We settled upon any place with over 2,000 people and data available for our criteria. FEMA approved the grant for Alaska on Aug. 23, ahead of many other states, according to FEMA’s website. 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