Starting on Sept. 21, out-of-work Alaskan residents will have to follow new guidelines if they wish to continue to receive unemployment insurance benefits from their state.

The change, announced by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will now require all benefit recipients to disclose their job search efforts with the state. Several years ago, a similar provision was included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, mandating that all claimants report at least two work search contacts for each week that they receive payments.

Now, Alaska has the ability to increase or decrease that number as the state sees fit. This legislation is designed to keep out-of-work residents on the hunt for employment opportunities, with the possibility of reducing the number of people with benefits and alleviating some of the financial burden from local businesses.

Alaska copes with high jobless rate
At the moment, this new legislation is a positive step for the state. Alaska has one of the higher unemployment rates in the country, and spurring labor force growth there would be a positive for all those involved.

A recent report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development indicated that the jobless rate was at 6.5 percent this past July, slightly above the national level. That is also a modest increase compared to June, but there has been little movement – either upward or downward – over the past two years.

The analysis also showed that premier tourist areas of the state, such as the Skagway Municipality and the Denali Borough, had some of the lowest unemployment rates in Alaska, at 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. On a similar note, the summer fishing season helped propel both the Aleutians East Borough and Dillingham Census Area to the largest rate decreases from June to July.

There is more positive news from Alaska as well, as a separate report from the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development found that more than 1,700 jobs were created from the first quarter of 2013 to the same time in 2014.

“For the first quarter of 2014, Alaska posted average monthly employment of 322,565 compared to the first quarter of 2013 that came in at 320,870,” Alaska labor commissioner Dianne Blumer said in a statement.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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