DATE:  June 5, 2001     NO: 01-65

CONTACT: Chuck Blankenship  PHONE: (907) 465-5930 

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release


Commissioner of Labor, Ed Flanagan, announced today that because Alaska's insured unemployment rate fell below six percent this month, the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits Program ends as of June 2, 2001. Entitlement for Extended Benefits is based on an individual's basic eligibility and could provide up to a maximum of 13 additional weeks of benefits during periods of high unemployment. The idea is to pay an extension of regular unemployment insurance when the labor market is depressed and there is not much work.

According to a federal triggering formula, extended unemployment benefits are authorized when Alaska's insured unemployment rate rises above six percent. Because Alaska's rate just fell below six percent, the Extended Benefit program ended with the last payable week of June 2, 2001. The formula is based on how many claims are received in a thirteen-week period, which causes the insured unemployment rate to rise or fall. The rate fell because more people are seasonally employed during the summer in Alaska, causing the Extended Benefit program to trigger off. The Department of Labor's Employment Security Division, which administers the Unemployment Insurance program, has notified each claimant who has filed for Extended Benefits of the June 2 ending date.

"Historically, Alaska pays Extended Benefits during the winter months and suspends them during the summer months when more work is available", Flanagan said. Although the final figures are not yet compiled for this period, Flanagan indicates that Alaskans annually receive approximately $5 million in extended unemployment insurance benefits.

For more information, contact Chuck Blankenship, Assistant Director, Unemployment Insurance in Juneau at (907) 465-5930.


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