Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:11 PM AKST


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Alaska Hire Determination Is Effective Today

EconomyThe Department of Labor and Workforce Development’sAlaska Hire determination is effective today. It requires that 90% of state -funded public construction jobs be filled by Alaska residents. This determination restores statewide Alaska Hire requirements after the 2013 determination, which was limited to 15 boroughs and census areas. The Labor Department restored statewide Alaska Hire requirements based on statutory criteria in A.S. 36.10.150 and economic data gathered by the department’s Research and Analysis Division.

" When our state tax dollars fund construction projects, Alaskans should be hired for those jobs,” said Commissioner Heidi Drygas.

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Unemployment rate at 6.8 percent in May

EconomyJUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in May, essentially unchanged from April’s 6.7 percent. The comparable national rate was 5.5 percent.

In fall 2014, the adjusted rate started to decline temporarily after a policy change in unemployment insurance eligibility, but it has since returned to typical levels.

The not-seasonally adjusted rate was 6.6 percent in May, down four-tenths of a percentage point from April’s level. Alaska’s unadjusted rate has large swings in the spring and fall, reflecting the highly seasonal economy that kicks into high gear around most of the state in May. Unadjusted rates fell in 25 out of 29 boroughs and census areas. The most dramatic drop was in the Denali Borough, where it fell 11.9 percentage points from April.
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Alaska Employment grew 0.4 percent in 2014

EconomyJUNEAU, Alaska— Recently released data show that employment in Alaska grew slightly in 2014. Average monthly employment reached 336,764, up 1,385 jobs, or 0.4 percent, from 2013’s level. Modest job growth in 2014 was a continuation of the previous year’s trend. From 2012 to 2013, employment also grew 0.4 percent.

Employers paid $17.8 billion in wages in 2014, up 2.3 percent from 2013’s inflation-adjusted $17.4 billion. Average annual wages increased 1.9 percent, from $51,858 in 2013 to $52,850 in 2014.

Private sector employers added 2,143 jobs in 2014. This increase was driven by above-average growth in the oil and gas, construction, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality industries. Some industries shrank in 2014, but not enough to stymie private sector growth overall.

Government employment fell by 760 jobs in 2014, driven by losses in both federal and local government, which includes public school districts.
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Governor Walker Defends Alaska's Economy

EconomyMay 28, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker visited Washington to tour Shell’s Polar Pioneer offshore drill rig that is headed for Alaska waters this summer. While in Seattle yesterday, Governor Walker also met with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in an effort to voice his support for responsible offshore drilling in the Arctic.

“I want to thank the people of Shell and Foss Maritime for hosting me this afternoon, and Governor Inslee for taking the time to meet with me on an important issue,” Governor Walker said. “Responsible offshore drilling in the Arctic will have significant economic impacts in Alaska, and I am encouraged by the advancements I saw today.”

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9.984 Mill Rate Adopted

EconomyOn May 21st the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly adopted the budget for next fiscal year including in it new positions for responders, roads, and the landfill, as well as an increase in funding to schools, all while facing declining revenues and a growing demand for services.

The new areawide mill rate is 9.984 up some from last year's 9.66. The new mill rate will tax $9.984 per every $1,000 in assessed property value.

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Unemployment rate at 6.7 percent in April

EconomyJUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in April, up two-tenths of a percentage point from March. The comparable national rate was 5.4 percent.

The recent dip and subsequent recovery in the rate make it difficult to identify a clear trend, but other indicators suggest that 2015 has been on a similar trajectory to the previous year.

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Administration to Initiate Fiscal Dialogue

EconomyMay 7, 2015 JUNEAU – Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott are calling on Alaskans to participate in a discussion about Alaska’s fiscal future. The Walker/Mallott administration will kick off the conversation Fri., June 5 – Sun., June 7 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Building a Sustainable Future: Conversations with Alaskans” will bring together members of the Walker/Mallott transition team and other Alaskans starting that Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

“Lt. Governor Byron Mallott and I want to tap the wisdom, knowledge and commitment of Alaskans to meet our current challenges and ensure we have a prosperous future,” Governor Walker said. “Our fiscal forecast demands long-term focus and attention. I am confident that this event, coupled with the statewide conversations over the summer months, will bring the best ideas forward.”

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Recruiting for More Than 1,600 Seafood Workers Begins Now

EconomyANCHORAGE, Alaska—The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is coordinating with seafood processing workers to increase Alaska Hire as processors recruit for more than 1,600 seasonal processing jobs for Alaska’s 2015 commercial salmon and pollock seasons. Commissioner Heidi Drygas met last week with many of Alaska’s largest seafood processors to discuss how processors can increase Alaska Hire through use of Registered Apprenticeships, work release programs, and employment of returning citizens.

“The busiest seafood processing season takes place June through September and it is important for workers to contact their nearest Alaska Job Center now to apply,” said Nelson San Juan, Employment Security Specialist at the Seafood Employment Office in the Anchorage Midtown Job Center. “These jobs provide an excellent opportunity for people who enjoy physical work, want to establish a work history, earn and save money quickly, and move up the career ladder.”

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Unemployment rate at 6.5 percent in March

EconomyJUNEAU, Alaska—Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in March, up slightly from February’s 6.3 percent. The comparable national rate was 5.5 percent.

The not-seasonally adjusted rate was 7.5 percent, down slightly from 7.6 percent in February. The unadjusted rate typically falls in March and will likely continue to drop through May as Alaska’s seasonal economy heats up.

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Planning for a Financially Secure Retirement

EconomyIn support of National Retirement Planning Week, the Alaska Division of Insurance updated its website to include retirement planning tips for every age group. Retirement planning was once considered a matter only for older, wealthier adults, but preparing for a secure future is no longer a life-stage or income-specific endeavor—the earlier you start, the better. Whether you are a student or a grandparent, you can take steps to prepare for financial wellness in later years.

“Everyday demands can make planning for retirement seem daunting initially, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Lori Wing-Heier, the director of the Alaska Division of Insurance. “An achievable first step would be to schedule some time on a regular basis to review your finances and assess your financial preparedness for retirement. Being proactive about planning and seeking professional guidance when warranted can help Alaskans achieve financial freedom.”

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Report Highlights Tourism as a Significant Economic Engine in Alaska

EconomyThe Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development recently released the Economic Impact of Alaska’s Visitor Industry report.

According to the study, Alaska’s visitor industry represents 8 percent of statewide employment, accounts for 46,000 peak season jobs, and contributes more than $3.9 billion in direct and indirect spending in Alaska. During the period studied, the visitor industry contributed $78 million to municipal governments and nearly $100 million to state government.

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Spring 2015 Forecast Adjusts Revenue to Reflect Lower Oil Prices

EconomyDepartment of Revenue (DOR) Commissioner Randall Hoffbeck released the spring 2015 revenue forecast update today. This annual publication provides basic information about state revenue, as well as a forecast of state revenue over ten years. The spring 2015 revenue forecast will be available today, April 3, 2015, at 2 pm on the Department’s website, at

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Gov Lauds Arctic Exploration Announcements

EconomyGovernor Bill Walker today stated his support of two recent announcements on Arctic offshore oil and gas exploration.

On Tues., March 31, the U.S. Department of Interior issued a Record of Decision affirming Chukchi Sea OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 and the remaining oil and gas leases issued in 2008 as a result of the sale.

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Unemployment rate at 6.3 percent in February

EconomyAlaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in February, unchanged from January. The national rate was 5.5 percent.

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted rate fell substantially during the second half of 2014 after a long period of relative stability. One factor in the decline was fewer unemployment insurance claimants after the fall implementation of new work search requirements.

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Unemployment rate at 6.3 percent in January

EconomyAlaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in January, essentially unchanged from December’s revised rate of 6.4 percent. The comparable national rate was 5.7 percent.

Not-seasonally adjusted rates increased in 24 out of Alaska’s 29 boroughs and census areas from December to January, typical for that time of year. Areas that bucked the seasonal trend included the Aleutians East and Kodiak Island boroughs and the Aleutians West Census Area, where economic activity accelerates in January at the onset of the pollock season and other winter fisheries. As a result, the Aleutians East Borough and Aleutians West Census Area were home to the two lowest jobless rates in January, at 2.4 and 2.8 percent respectively.

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