May 22, 2000             No: 00-51

Contact: Chuck Blankenship       Phone:  (907)465-5930

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

EXTENDED BENEFITS TO END MAY 27, 2000

Insured Unemployment Rate Drops Below 6 Percent

Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Ed Flanagan announced today that the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits Program ends May 27, 2000.

"Historically, Alaska pays extended benefits during the winter months and suspends them during the summer months when more work is available," Flanagan said.

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 when the labor market is depressed and there is not much work. Although the final figures are not yet compiled for this period, Alaskans annually receive approximately $5 to $7 million in extended benefits, Flanagan said.

According to a federal triggering formula, extended unemployment benefits are authorized when Alaska's insured unemployment rate rises above six percent. 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. Because more people are seasonally employed during the summer in Alaska, the rate fell below six percent, 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 May 27 ending date.

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