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Debt Consolidation
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Alaskans Face Unique Economic Challenges

As providers of CareOne Debt Relief Services®, we know that every consumer comes to us with a different debt story and situation. In order to provide the best service and support available, we take our time getting to know our customers and understanding the specific financial challenges they face. Residents of Alaska are currently facing several unique economic factors that may be adversely affecting their ability to nurture a healthy financial future.

For example, residents in Alaska are currently experiencing an increase in their cost of living. According to a recent report issued by the state’s Department of Labor, inflation rose from 1.8% to 3.2% in 2011. This increase is the second highest increase for the state in the past decade1.  The current unemployment rate in Alaska is lower than the national average2 but Alaska also has a high population of residents who work more than one job to make ends meet, more than 10% in fact3. This trend cuts across all industries and is especially prevalent with workers under the age of 30. The high cost of living, coupled with the high youth unemployment rate being experienced nationwide4, makes it easy to understand why younger Alaska residents may need secondary employment to make ends meet.

Alaska also has a high population of younger adults who are looking to higher education to help them compete in the job market and meet their financial obligations. According to the U.S. Census, 27% of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher5. But of course, higher education also comes at a price; 50% of students at public and private 4-year institutions in Alaska have student loan debt6.

CareOne’s own internal data shows that younger residents of Alaska may be struggling to stay on track, and are increasingly in need of debt relief. The number of 18 to 24 year olds seeking debt relief increased a whopping 48% from 2010 to 2011 and was 32% higher than our national average. The number of 25 to 34 year old Alaskans seeking debt relief also rose by 5% during that same period and was 20% higher than our national average.

Overall, the number of individual debts reported by Alaskans (of all ages) rose 8% in 2011 and was 6% higher than our national average. While the average amount of debt reported by those residents decreased from 2010 to 2011 it still remained 7% higher than our national average.

Whether it’s the high cost of living, a student loan or an unforeseen expense that is affecting your ability to manage your debt, we want to assure residents of Alaska that they’re not alone. Many CareOne employees have been in debt themselves, for a variety of reasons. We got out, and you can too. If you’re looking for more information about debt consolidation, please call one of our Certified Personal Finance Counselors® today. They’ll provide a free analysis of your debt, walk you through your options and help you choose a customized action plan to get you back on track.

For more reading on debt in other Pacific states see our articles on Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii

1 Alaska Department of Labor, http://labor.alaska.gov/research/col/col.pdf

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/lauhsthl.htm
3 Alaska Department of Labor, http://www.labor.state.ak.us/trends/may12.pdf
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm
5 U.S. Census, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02000.html
6 Project on Student Loan Debt, http://projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-view2011.php?area=AK
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