Since the beginning, Alaska has demanded hard work from her people. Today most residents earn their living from one of Alaska's primary industries including communications, transportation, resource development, tourism, and emerging high-tech industries. Others choose to work independently, relying on materials harvested from the land and sea to provide all or some of their subsistence.
Many people live here because they value Alaska's land, culture, history, and wildlife. Outdoor guides and fishermen, craftsmen and artisans, entrepreneurs and professionals, often find ways to combine their love of Alaska with their work. Most Alaskans are happy to share their experiences with visitors who want to know more about how people live and work in Alaska.
Alaska's largest private employer is the seafood industry. The state's many fishing fleets are among the nation's most productive, accounting for half of the total U.S. catch.
For the many Alaskans in the petroleum industry, work can mean weeks or months away from home. Some have jobs on towering off-shore rigs, or in the arctic region of Prudhoe Bay. Others work along the 800-mile course of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, from oil fields on the North Slope, to tankers waiting at the Marine Terminal in Valdez.
Forests add to Alaska's beauty and provide a renewable economic resource. With 28 million acres of commercial forest, Alaska's timber industry supplies world markets with logs, lumber, pulp, and other forest products.
The 49th state contains half the nation's coal reserves, and it's largest silver and zinc mines. Of course, glittering gold in Alaska's streams and mountains still lures many miners to work private claims.
Alaska's spectacular natural beauty and outdoor adventures attract more than a million visitors each year. Tourism is Alaska's fastest-growing industry, employing people throughout the state who provide goods and services to help our visitors experience Alaska to the fullest.
Alaska is ideally situated for international travel and transportation. Nearly equidistant from Tokyo, New York, and London, Alaska is at the center of the world's most active trading hemisphere, and provides air access to the Russian Far East. Alaska's two international airports are among the nation's busiest cargo airports.
Even the aerospace industry is drawn to the state, launching polar-orbit rockets and satellites at the University of Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range near Fairbanks.
To keep Alaska productive and thriving, the state constantly explores new opportunities and offers programs to stimulate business growth. In addition, Alaskans pursue responsible economic development of the state's natural resources, foreign trade, and manufacturing opportunities.