Alaska joins 12 states in opting out of unemployment premium payments


At the KFC/AW shop in Fairbanks, the sign reads, “Bi Weekly Stimulus Check – Apply Within.” It’s a statement about how hard it is for restaurants and other businesses to find workers these days.

On Friday, Alaska Department of Labor announced that along with at least 12 other states, it will opt out of the federal unemployment premium payments that give unemployed Alaskans another $300 a week while they do not work.

Many employers across the country have said they cannot get workers to return because the unemployment benefits are giving them hefty incentives to just stay home. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program was approved by Congress last year to mitigate the impact on families of the economy that was depressed by Covid-19 and the policy reactions to the pandemic.

Alaska Department of Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said Alaska will end its participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit on June 12.

“As Alaska’s economy opens up, employers are posting a wide range of job opportunities and workers are needed,” Ledbetter said.

Unemployment Insurance is a short-term relief program funded through employer and employee contributions.  Federal and state program expansions have added additional weeks of eligibility and supplemental funding to the normal state benefit, the department noted.

Since March 2020, the department has been at the forefront of Alaska’s response to the pandemic. More than $1.2 billion in federal and state funds have been distributed through the UI program.

Extensions of the basic state benefit will continue to Sept. 6, 2021, and will be available to both eligible UI recipients and self-employed filers.

As the economy rebounds, the department has seen a steady reduction in the number of active filers. There are currently 32,000 filers across all available programs – down from a high of approximately 65,000 last May.

“There are numerous training and employment resources available to Alaskans looking for work,” said Commissioner Ledbetter. “A great example is the Virtual Job Fair happening right now. More than 50 local employers have posted recruitments, and the response has been very positive. Employer demand for workers is outpacing job applicants. For those seeking employment, the time is now.

“Therefore, it is time for Alaskans who are able and available to go to work to do so,” Ledbetter said. “For those Alaskans still burdened by lack of childcare or transportation or other issues, I understand the challenges — this period has been like no other in our history. However, unemployment is a temporary support system. The benefits are funded through employee contributions, and the system’s sustainability is built upon a healthy economy.”


  1. Well. This country had no president like President Trump in its entire history. He was even a better administrator than Reagan. So of course! There had to be pandemic beginning in an election year sending us home. Cause good gracious! We can’t have self sufficient citizens. Hahaha
    Build back better! HA! More like build back worse before President Trump demonstrated how the oval office should had been really directing America and world.

  2. This is encouraging. Albeit still have a grave shortage of people in the trades. Electricians, construction, diesel technicians, automotive technicians, plumbers, pipe fitters, welders, HVAC – shortage. Our schools have been pushing STEM careers for decades and now here we are as skilled technicians are retiring, there are few coming up in the ranks. I am married to a very skilled electrician/electrical administrator contractor whom is also a journeyman diesel technician. Our struggle to find employees is not due to the excessive unemployment benefits but simply that the perspective and hoped for employee is already well employed. Still, I am glad our state leaders have seen fit to rein in the entitlement! Sigh, my soapbox.

  3. This makes me so angry. The Federal and state gov’t for the first time paid a liveable wage to unemployed people and the actions of some, low grade workers who are OK with living on the “tit” should not ruin it for everyone. I am not on unemployment but would hope that should I need it the gov’t focuses more on catching these people living on unemployment instead of working instead of reducing it to a pitance and making lives and families miserable during this already stressful period.

  4. Kroger Grocery store chain with 465000 employee’s saw a 8% decrease in median pay this past year. The company took away the Hero bonus after two months, the company closed stores where the local towns passed ordinance for higher wages instead of paying the higher wage. Kroger’s posted record revenues in the past year.

    The CEO of Kroger was just paid 22 million dollars.

    It is understandable why people would not be in a rush to go back to work and be paid slave wages.

    The fact is the GOP does not give a dam about you but they sure care about the CEO’s..

    CEO’s can not receive big pay and bonus if they do not have low paid employee’s.

    Without employee’s business can not function, it is real too bad that the money flows to the top and not to the people actually doing the work.

  5. Get a Life, I worked for free growing up. Then a $1 an hour, then on to high school level jobs. Then you know the rest of the story. Work hard get good grades. Now the higher pay is paying off.

    You don’t start a job as a kid making $20 dollars an hour.

    This country is raising a much of crybabies — I want want want. Get off your lazy — and go get a job.
    Stop living off your parents/government and in their basement.

  6. Pay better wages, if 300$ a week competes with employers then what does that say about wages being offered?

  7. I was laid off due to the “COVID crisis” and was on unemployment for a few months before I had found a job I was extremely over qualified for. I worked there a couple months and finally had to quit due to the hours they expected me to work while having a kids at home. The extra income is helpful to put food on the table with unemployment and I have been looking for a job, there’s actually not much out there to be honest for a person who has a degree and experience. So to put it out there that people aren’t finding work due to the amount of unemployment is ridiculous. $600 a week for 40 hours is only $15.00 an hour.

  8. Too overqualified Marcy complains there’s no work because she has a degree. But you sure like doing nothing for $15 an hour because “kid” which you complain is too little money. You’re gross.

  9. The Democrats’ play-book devotes an entire chapter to destroying the American work ethic. Biden has used the Chinese flu as an excuse to move toward that goal. SNAP, WIC, Section 8 housing and the like make us wards of the government.

  10. If you want only big box stores and no small business, please keep passing endless regulation, tax increases, and mandatory benefits/wages. All you do, is help the rich get richer, and drive out the middle class and small business owner, the backbone of the country and its economy. Entry level positions, are just that. If you’re wanting a career at wal-mart, get a business degree and join management. If you want to sling a register or wait tables for 30 years then expect to be paid less. Keep artificially driving wages up and you’ll see more kiosks where a human ENTRY LEVEL worker used to be.

  11. All over the nation, in restaurants, stores and other businesses they are struggling to find any people to work. They are having issues in the lower 48 finding qualified people to drive fuel trucks and they can’t! They either are not applying or are too stupid to do it. Most grocery stores can’t get kids to bag things anymore, nor get checkers. This whole stimulus thing was not supposed to be just constantly being doled out without reprocussions. Now, we are seeing them. Those taking advantage and not finding another means for work are now not taking jobs because of excuse after excuse. The plandemic is over.. And unless they make people get off their kiesters and get a job rather than collecting a check this will continue to get worse. Pretty bad when fast food chains and restaurants have a hard time getting anyone to work. Guess they all think this bail out will last forever… Its not.

  12. Harbor Boy, you cry foul because a CEO earns 22 million a year, this same CEO oversees an operation with 465,000 employees, (your numbers) while your favorite propaganda presenter on any of the MSM channels easily earns that much,. What about your favorite fist pumping , kneel taking sports star? What does he earn? Uh Huh, yeah, most people can see the picture here. Someone who has the talent to run a huge enterprise comes at a higher pay scale. I am surprised your favorite leftist movie star hasn’t made that clear to you. Keep on reading Mother Jones and the Nation magazine and listen to the talking heads at CNN and MSNBC news channels. Don’t ever try to think! Keep repeating the poop you are programed with! Critical Thinking is hard…

  13. There are a lot of people out there just laying around and soaking up these benefits. I work a week on/week off schedule and when I’m off I’m always puzzled how many people and families out during weekdays. Just sight seeing, hanging out, and visiting our empty tourist attractions. I think to myself, “doesn’t anyone work anymore?”

  14. Kingsley, my post went right over your head. The median pay of the workers went down when Kroger corporation made record profits and the CEO was paid $22 million a year. There is a in balance in our society when the workers are paid very little and the boss makes all the money. The boss can not make all that cash without the employee’s busting their butts.

    Actors and Sports stars do not depend on others for their success, they are private contractors. CEO of Krogers needs all 465,000 employee’s to do their job for success where the average worker makes $28,500.00 per year but the CEO gets $22 million see the difference? probably not.

    It is understandable why unions got started.

  15. Unemployment has always been a game for losers who are too lazy to work. Those who honestly earned it and paid for it are usually denied, or left with a stipend not hardly worth it. There is always a way to make a buck, even in a “pandemic “. I honestly can’t criticize people who have taken advantage of the situation. I was elegible but decided to keep trying at the restaurant business anyway and managed to get by. Now that things seem to be opening up, few people are interested in jobs. I pay very well, but few are looking for work. I am very thankful and proud of the few employees I have who want to work for their money. I am disappointed by the higher rates that a business must pay into unemployment insurance to pay for the people who choose not to work for no good reason. Many do have legitimate reasons, and I don’t discredit them. The many employees that were not willing to work during the pandemic in any way that could have been safe for them, I have no desire for their services now that their benefits are ending. This state has many programs to provide great revenue to their types. That’s why we have so many. And the government workers who were paid to not work at home and could not even answer a phone, I have no respect. None of them even got laid off. How about that?

  16. Marcy, you poor dear! I feel so sorry for you. How may we help you find a work ethic and some dignity?

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