Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a Friday, May 1, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a Friday, May 1, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)

State ups unemployment assistance by $300

About 88,000 Alaskans have received unemployment benefits since March 1.

The $600 per week in federal unemployment assistance for Alaskans ended at the end of July, but on Thursday Gov. Mike Dunleavy authorized the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide a $300 weekly increase in state assistance for those who are still unemployed.

“After reviewing in detail all of the federal unemployment aid options presented to me and my team, choosing to give $300 more per week allows us to use the state’s unemployment trust fund and helps us to best serve Alaskans who need unemployment assistance across the entire state as they weather a very difficult period in our history,” Dunleavy said in a release.

The benefits will draw from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds while the Department of Labor works through the FEMA application for federal funds.

“This option ensures additional resources to UI claimants in the quickest manner possible without compromising the state budget,” Department of Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said in the press release. “It also keeps in place increased benefits during the time period leading to a longer term Congressional solution.”

About 88,000 Alaskans have received unemployment benefits since March 1, for a total of about $700 million in federal and state funds so far, according to the release.

In the August issue of the Department of Labor’s monthly analysis of Alaska economic trends, state economists Lennon Weller and Dan Robinson looked at the impacts that the end of federal unemployment benefits would have on Alaska’s economy and found that the complete loss of the extra benefits would have meant a “sizable economic shock” across the state in August, equivalent to about $87 million in lost wages.

In June, for example, they found that 3,326 residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough received $6,130,200 from the temporary federal add-on and $2,834,675 in state unemployment benefits. The additional benefits authorized by Dunleavy will replace half of the federal funds, which will mean an average of $575 per week for these recipients.

For information on how to apply for unemployment insurance, visit labor.alaska.gov/unemployment.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves 1 dead, 1 in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 6 new COVID deaths

The deaths, which included a Kenai woman in her 40s, pushed the total to 840 since the pandemic began.

Ryanna Thurman (right) speaks to a library employee at the Soldotna Public Library on Thursday, March 25 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna library seeks OK for grant fund purchases

The funds are made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Kenai man killed in vehicle rollover

The man was travelling northbound on the Sterling Highway on Tuesday.

Cheryl Morse and Tom Kleeman prepare Thanksgiving lunch at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Food bank opens doors for Thanksgiving lunch

“We don’t know what to expect, so we’re trying to still be cautious on our limited seating.”

Carter Kyle (left), Lincoln Kyle (center) and Brandon Kyle (right) hand off Thanksgiving meals at a drive through event hosted by the Salvation Army on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thanksgiving on the go

Salvation Army hands out meals in drive-thru event

Bench creator, Brad Hughes, pours the molding material over the clay while Rob Wiard and Matt brush the liquid rubber over each character on the bench to ensure it is covered evenly. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Molds for the Loved Lost Bench are underway

Construction for the memorial bench continues as the rubber molds to shape the concrete are made.

Most Read