Unemployment, Foreclosures, Credit Card Debts Edging in Alaska

by Peter Vernon on States

How is the northernmost and westernmost state doing?

Alaska Department of Labor economist Dan Robinson answered that they seem to be a lot better than other states in the country. But oil prices are going down. Oil is the major payer of the state and runs the Alaskan economy. Crude oil recently closed at $35.61, far from July’s $144.

Then, the state’s number one savings account, Alaska Permanent Fund, is just valued $28 billion, losing $9 billion in 4 months.

With these state downs, there are other signs of economic recession slowly crawling into Alaska: increasing unemployment, growing cases of foreclosure and extreme credit card debt.

Work Status

In October Alaska experienced the highest unemployment rate since February 2005 at 7.4 percent. Robinson is not yet certain if this sudden increase in job loss is just related to seasonal work contracts ending. But if the November unemployment ends up again above 7 percent this would mean a rapid change in the economy.

Foreclosures Status

Anchorage single-family houses are now valued at average of $328,000, level from the past. This is still great compared to foreclosure-stormed California and Florida.

There are about 360 foreclosure cases in Anchorage this October, substantially higher than the 266 foreclosures same time last year.

Anchorage foreclosure attorney Richard Ullstrom said that banks and other lenders just want to get back their money. He said that the over-exuberant real estate investors who then bail out are to blame in the increase in foreclosures.

Credit Status

Alaskans have the highest balance on their credit cards with an average of $2,486. Their plastics are overused than the rest of the country because they tend to buy a lot of stuff from the internet, not having these things available locally. The national credit card debt averages at $1,742 only.

Bankruptcy filing is then up by 25 percent from last year.

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