economy is driven by
the following industries:
Other important industries
and gas industry is the largest component of Alaskas
economy. Nearly 85 percent of the state budget is
supplied by oil revenues. The fortunes of Alaskas
oil industry, and therefore many sectors of the economy,
are dependent upon world oil prices.
Oil was discovered
in Prudhoe Bay, on the arctic coast, in 1968. Pipeline construction
began in 1974 and was completed in 1977. The 800 mile pipeline
is the largest privately financed construction project in
history. The pipe is 48 inches in diameter and oil moves at
about 5.5 miles per hour, requiring just under six days to
travel from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.
Tourism is also
a major sector of Alaskas economy attracting over 1.1
million visitors annually. The tourism industry is Alaskas
second largest primary employer.
The rich fishing
waters off Alaskas coast make it one of the worlds
finest sources for wild seafood. Each year nearly 6 billion
pounds of seafood are harvested. Alaska is the number one
producer of wild salmon in the world and has the only salmon
industry certified as "sustainable" by the Marine
Forests add to
Alaskas beauty and provide a renewable economic resource.
With 28 million acres of commercial forest, Alaskas
timber industry supplies world markets with logs, lumber,
pulp, and other forest products. Much of Southeast Alaska
is part of the Tongass National Forest, a 16.8 million acre
rainforest. The Chugach is the nation's second largest national
forest with 4.8 million acres.
half the nations coal reserves, and its largest silver
and zinc mines. Glittering gold in Alaskas streams and
mountains still lure miners to work private claims.
About 15 million
acres of soil in Alaska are suitable for farming, with 1 million
acres currently in production. The long daylight hours of
summer produce vegetables of extraordinary size. Farmers in
the Matanuska Valley grow cabbages weighing more than 90 pounds.