I guess I’m not the only one with visions of Buck loping across the tundra. About 2 million other folks also visit Alaska annually. There is a lot to see; it’s a big state and one of the few that still has undeveloped natural areas where visitors can observe Mother Nature at her finest.
People flock to Alaska by cruise ship, airplane or the highway to see all of the wonders of nature, including the bird sized mosquitoes! Many come back more than once. Visitors spend almost $2 billion dollars in Alaska, and this significantly impacts industries directly and indirectly related to tourism. Tourism accounts for approximately 9% of employment in Alaska or 39,000 jobs. A side benefit to tourism has been capital improvements within the state funded by the industry itself.
1. Petroleum Industry
Gas and oil are big business in Alaska, employing a total of 110,000 people, both directly and indirectly related to the sector itself. About one of every three working individuals have a job related to the petroleum industry. This comes to an estimated total of $6.43 billion dollars in wages and salaries, according to the 2013 Alaska Economic Performance Report. Alaska is currently producing about 7% of the total oil used in the US.
At one time, Alaska produced 25% of all oil used in this country, but that has declined since 1988, as other regions increased their petroleum production. A word about the Alaska Permanent Fund. This fund was set up with the advent of oil production in Alaska, back in the 1970’s. Its purpose is to provide a benefit to all Alaskans, both current and future generations, by setting aside revenues from the oil industry.
The Rest of the Stats
Overall, how does Alaska compare with the rest of the US statistically? The median home price in Alaska is $266,400.versus the national median home price at $188,900. The median household income is the second highest in the nation at $69,825. Vs the national average of $52,939. Unemployment stands at 6.7% (national average, 4.9%) however, many of the businesses in Alaska operate on a seasonal basis, and the unemployment rate reflects this. Roughly 28% of Alaskans have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, while the national average for educational attainment stands at about 32%.
Summing it up, homes are expenses, wages are relatively high, but jobs can be seasonal. Alaska is slightly behind the contiguous US in attaining post-secondary degrees.
The Alaskan Mystique
I can hear Buck howling again. He was a survivor, as are most Alaskans. As tourists, we fantasize about living in a rugged land of vast pristine beauty, but then we go home. Alaskans have combined toughness with the American pioneering spirit. They live in a land of mystery and beauty with vestiges of danger and adventure. The rest of us may be a bit jealous.
- “Home Page.” Alaska Resource Development Council. Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc., 2016. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <http://www.akrdc.org/>.
- 2013 Alaska Economic Performance Report. Rep. State of Alaska Department of Commerce, 2013. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/6/pub/2013_Alaska_Economic_Performance_Report.pdf>.
- “Top 5 Industries in Alaska: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?”Newsmax. Newsmaxmedia, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/industries-in-alaska-strongest/2015/02/23/id/625842/>.
- “Alaska Household Income.” Alaska State Household Income. Department of Numbers, 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <http://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/alaska/>.