alaska unemployment problems

Principal Causes of the Unemployment Problem. “That’s just nowhere near enough.”. 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. Alaskans out of work due to COVID-19 can fall back on unemployment for the next few months. Once it does, it will be efficient,” Bishop said. “They should have sat people down and handwritten the damn checks.”. The boost would come on top of the regular weekly unemployment payment, which averaged about $250 before the pandemic began. While many have reported problems, Filiori said she was successful applying online and reaching unemployment experts by phone. Bill Walker, said the unemployment insurance program is staffed with long-term employees who are committed to doing a good job. Many more Alaskans are believed to be out of work but have not filed for one reason or another. It is going to take them one, to three to four weeks on the outside to get this running. 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. Alaska unemployment claims skyrocket after coronavirus shuts down restaurants. In Alaska, you can file an unemployment benefits claim either online or by phone. 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. [More than 36,000 Alaskans file jobless claims in 3 weeks as coronavirus stifles the economy]. This time around, Bishop said his former agency is also “looking at doing an accelerated version” of training for new workers. This problem of how we count people’s activities in Alaska is incremental to the problems with the unemployment rate as a statistic everywhere. • The previous $600 weekly federal benefit that ended in late July was disbursed through the traditional unemployment insurance system. 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. People who are out of work should reach out to the department’s reemployment services, Ledbetter said. Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said Wednesday that “there are approximately 100 staff currently assigned to the processing of unemployment insurance claims.”. New coding is required. In 2000, the Alaska unemployment rate was around 6.2%. State Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, said some Alaskans have contacted her, asking with increasing desperation when the payment will come through. Since the pandemic began, he lost work as a carpet cleaner, and his fiancee lost her job as a bartender. Alaska will continue to update our information concerning the CARES Act as it becomes available. We then looked at the unemployment rates to determine the … Skagway Municipality, AK unemployment rate . 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. When he tried to update his application, the online process prompted him to call. That remains the advice today. Home>Get Legal Info>Coronavirus (COVID-19) Back to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Unemployment (COVID-19) Legal Information (1) Legal Help Directory; Filter By: Language. (That peak was less than a third of the current weekly volume.). 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. This left us with 23 places in Alaska. You can register for an account with AKDOL either online or on paper. Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Once registered, you’ll be issued … The Alaska unemployment rate has been fluctuating over the last decade. The program needs a mechanism so payments rise with inflation, she said. 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. Click to enter AlaskaJobs The AlaskaJobs system has replaced ALEXsys. Register With the Department of Labor. If you are unable to file online, you can file by phone using the automated filing system … (James Brooks / ADN), The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor are seen Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Juneau. The state continues to cite technology issues as the reason for the delay. Relief and retroactive payments are coming, they say, but many Alaskans worry whether it will come in time for them to pay bills. “My unemployment just barely covered my electric with $20 left over for two weeks. 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. Lex Treinen, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage - March 19, 2020. 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. Since 2005 the unemployment rate in Alaska has ranged from 5.2% in August 1998 to 13.7% in April 2020. “We have no failsafe, no backup plan,” he said. To file a claim and to manage your account, go here and create an online account. Now, callers say they’re hearing a prerecorded message that disconnects the phone line at the end. That includes normal technicians, people the department has reassigned, and six former employees who came out of retirement to help. “CARES program coverage for the self employed will be operational in the next 3 to 4 weeks,” Ledbetter wrote by email. “An additional 75 staff will be hired this week,” Ledbetter wrote by email. Unemployment Insurance Benefits has sent you here to sign in. 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. 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. 6,933 jobs available in Alaska on Indeed.com. In Kodiak, Moody even tried the department’s fax number, without response so far. Gov. “At that time, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the program would be operational in six to eight weeks,” she said. The complaints aren’t universal. Three weeks ago, anticipating the surge to come, state officials urged Alaskans to file for unemployment online. “These issues will all be fought out in state legislatures,” he said. “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. (James Brooks / ADN). But on Friday, it was still unknown when the money — representing up to six weeks of $300 extra payments — would arrive. Close to 40,000 Alaskans have received weekly unemployment benefits in October, about 12% of the workforce, according to the state labor department. 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. When additional information is available we will update this message. From then until Spring of 2007, the Alaska unemployment rate went down to an all time low of 5.9% for that decade. The current unemployment rate for Alaska is 6.4% for August 2020.  Since then, it gradually improved as businesses have attempted to reopen safely, … He needs a “roundabout date” to tell bill collectors when he can pay, he said, and the wait has been frustrating. 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. On Friday, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development announced that the COVID-19 small business grants program was being expanded. Northwest Arctic Borough, AK unemployment … JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — … That will … You must continue to file bi-weekly (every 2 weeks). 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.. “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. 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. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com. myAlaska Help For assistance with your myAlaska account, 1-866-377-0126 Check out the myAlaska FAQs. Thanks. The next day, he was told he didn’t have a job at all. “This is over a week into calling, and I still have yet to get through to anybody.”. Unemployment is one of the most critical economic issues facing the country as it balances re-opening with safety months into the pandemic. 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. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Claims for unemployment benefits have risen sharply in Alaska as concerns over the coronavirus ripple through the state, officials said Thursday. 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. Mike Dunleavy said in a press conference on Wednesday that the state is working urgently to get the payments out. 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. 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. The unemployment rate peaked at around 10% following the 2008–09 financial crisis. Byrd, seen in … “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. That many in rural Alaska still rely on the subsistence economy for many of their needs is one of the most important reasons. Moody, whose wife is collecting disability, joined more than 30,000 Alaskans who have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks. “Many are surprised to learn of the full range of employment and training services available,” she said. Alaska law provides severe penalties for attempting to collect benefits fraudulently. “They’re so, so flooded with people.”. 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. 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. 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. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, was commissioner of the state Department of Labor in 2010, the last time unemployment applications peaked. … 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. The supplement, known as Lost Wages Assistance, was approved by President Donald Trump in August, using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. TeachMeFinance.com presents the Alaska Unemployment Map, by county, not seasonally adjusted. 3. That extra payment was authorized for Alaskans who care for children or dependent adults. This is down from a high of 8.9 percent in 1992. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating for (workers) too, because they’re breaking new ground. She said she had the best luck calling the statewide toll-free number. Search site Advanced Search. Tarr has pressed the state for quick delivery of the money. 19.1%. 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. By. A more generous unemployment insurance system may require bypassing states’ incentives. … [Earlier coverage: Tens of thousands of Alaskans await $300 weekly unemployment boost as state blames tech glitches]. Claims are effective Sunday of the week in which you open or reopen it. 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.”. There also are separate numbers for claim centers in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. Cathy Muñoz, deputy commissioner for the department, said on Oct. 12 that the payments, covering a six-week period, would begin last week. 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. An entirely new system must be built with separate accounting and financial reporting requirements. (James Brooks / ADN). AlaskaJobs is accessed through myAlaska and you will need a … Approval for a six-week program in Alaska came in early September, Ledbetter said in the statement. AK Highest Unemployment by County. “Our hardware, software system to be able to distribute those checks, we’re having a problem with it,” he said. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. 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. 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. It then began a slow but steady recovery that reached a low of 3.5% in February 2020. It’s a scary and frustrating situation and more communication about it from the state would be nice,” she said. 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. 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. Hans Moody had worked for RavnAir, loading and unloading aircraft in Kodiak for 23 years. The state of Alaska is ranked 2nd in Unemployment Offices per capita, and 41st in Unemployment Offices per square mile. He previously reported and edited for the Juneau Empire, Kodiak Daily Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The state is in the “final stages” of testing the payments, the statement said. With 40,000 Alaskans on unemployment and 90,000 having received assistance this year, we are in unprecedented territory. Alaskans applying for unemployment say they’re feeling frustrated by clogged phone lines, uncertain regulations and a confusing application process. Please do not attempt to contact the UI claim centers … Heidi Drygas, an attorney who led the state labor department under former Gov. “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. Also, you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. “Income verification, USDOL reporting agreements, staff training, and a new requirement to deduct federal withholding tax are currently in the works. The Legislature has increased the payments only on rare occasions over the past two decades, she said. “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. Employment with the State of Alaska is more than just a job. • The current unemployment system is designed for funds to be disbursed only through that system. In Kodiak, Moody first filed for partial aid because he was told that his hours were being reduced. Beau Sylte of Sitka said that can’t come soon enough. Alaska Job Center Network. Also, Alaska often refers to Employment Security Tax (EST) rather than unemployment insurance tax. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. “If I don’t get my unemployment, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Moody said. 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 … But when they take care of their own child, they are not considered part … myAlaska Login Username: Forgot my Username: Forgot my Password: New User: Register for a myAlaska Account On Sunday, he learned along with the rest of the state that Alaska’s largest rural airline had declared bankruptcy. In 2019, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1 percent. 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. The state cannot pay people the extra money by using money from the unemployment insurance trust fund. 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. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday that payments will go out as soon as possible. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. 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. 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. “I would tell people to keep calling. 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