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youngie22

Alaskan economy

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Hey any one up there have any info for me? I am looking to make a big move; I know alot of things are expensive. but are people suffering due to the poor economy in the lower 48 as much as the rest of us? are there opportunities for people to make good money and still save some? are business hiring, what fields?

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One thing about tourism up there is that the people with the big bucks don't really care about the economy and stil want to take vacations, so that's one good thing they got going for them.

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I dunno....I don't make big bucks, barely medium bucks:) And many of the folks I met up there fishing I think are in the same boat...trip of a lifetime, or maybe if they're lucky, a trip every other year. I think a lot of the fishing tourists will be affected, I know I am. NO AK this year:(

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I've been to AK 3 times so I'm no expert, but I've spent quite a bit of that time with guides who live in the area. I've also talked with lots of residents. This is what I have gleaned from what they told me about living there. Most good jobs are in three categories: Military, government and skilled labor. Tourism is seasonal and provides little in the way of benefits and high pay. You need to be an owner of a resort or large charter operation which takes time to build a business to be making good money in tourism. Most of the small tourism operators that I've met are retired and have a secondary pension of some sort or has a spouse that works. In addition most have an off-season skill that they work at.

Skilled labor like welders, electricians, plumbers, machinists, etc have lots of work mostly in the oil business. Carpenters do pretty good as well.

I once read an article about living in Alaska. The author quipped that most people move to Alaska and struggle to survive for 10 years doing all sorts of odd and risky jobs. Then write a book about how they survive and live happily ever after on the profits of the book.

Otherwise there are low skilled jobs that pay well like Governor of the State. LOL

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Do your research and figure out where you want to live, Alaska is a very large and diverse state. Have a job waiting for you before you leave and another on the back burner just in case. There is work here, but Alaska also has a high Unemployment rate at 7.8%. It is a major move to get here and you should have at least a couple months salary saved up PLUS enough to pay housing costs, ie, rent,deposit, utilities, etc... The wages are a little higher up here, but so are the costs. If you do it right and plan for the worst, you will never regret moving here. I will never regret moving here, but I am a welder/mechanic & machinist and my wife is an RN so we can get jobs real easy. Hope this helps.

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awesome info, I would have a job, and housing etc. if I did leave. the pay seems good, the expenses seem high. The unemployment rate does seem high to me. Just no people willing to get into the skilled labor fields? where is wasilla? looking at options around fairbanks. Is there new construction homes being built? who's buying them, and who is building them?

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Greetings from the interior of Alaska. The economy here is different from region to region based on military presence and natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, timber to commercial fishing. The climate in the northern villages are much more extreme than the interior, and again, milder in the southern portion of Alaska. I have been living in the interior of Alaska (Fairbanks North Star Borough) for eleven years, a native of MN, and will comment on that region only. __1) First you have to consider the climate if you want to move here. Are you willing to drive to work in -65F? In the dark? These temps are hard on people with arthritis of any age. We do not cancel school for a foot of snowfall. And, if the next day yet another foot falls, school is still not cancelled. If you have asthma, will you be able to handle the ice fog? (When temps are at -45 and colder the air particulate suspends in the lower atmosphere - where the people are at - and can get to dangerous levels from vehicle exhaust/emissions.) In the summer it is sunny for about 98 days straight. Most use blackout curtains to sleep. Any sense of direction you may have may be lost up here. __2) LIFESTYLE. Will you and your family be able to tolerate the lack of a commercial lifestyle as in the lower 48? Only about three years ago we got a couple of box stores (building/discount). Generic brand department stores, you can count with one finger. We do have some fast food, however are limited on restaurants. The closest MAJOR shopping center is an 8 hour drive south - in Anchorage. Round trip it's about $250 car trip. Are you willing to go out in extreme weather to socialize, etc? If you have a pet, will they be able to live indoors or partial indoor/out? __3) MONTHLY EXPENSES. (Feb 09). I'm conserving all I can in heat and electric, limiting driving. Electric: $302. Heating Fuel: $722 (lasts 1 month). Auto gas for 2 vehicles: $120 week. ($3.37 per gal for diesel. $2.37 unleaded) GroceriesFor4: $200 - $300 week ($5.80 gallon milk - non-powdered local good stuff, $3-$4 for 18 eggs). Hard Line Phone: $30 month. Cell: $110 / 2 phones. High Speed Cable Internet $60 month. And land tax $350 month, payable in two installments in Sept1 Nov 1. ($4200 year for an average $300K home). And yes, there are other expenses. And you'll want a really reliable vehicle. There are cars and minivans here, but most people here drive a truck or something with all wheel/4WD. (Moose can be on the road.) Medical & Dental - yikes. (And as a side note, when diesel hit $5 gallon, it didn't drop for months. I was paying $1400 month for fuel oil. Yes, a few people were giving the banks the keys to their homes and leaving. My auto gas was also double at $240 week) __4)BUILDING HOMES. The good local building crews have taken all the work that's left. If you plan on building homes, bad idea. The locals here are educated in cold climate housing techniques. Seasonal building. Construction works different here with -65 winter temps - not necessarily constant work year-round. (There's no concrete slabs being poured, etc. with frozen ground.) Our homes are weathered harder than the lower 48 at extreme temps and temp fluctuations. (0 one day, -50 the next.) As reflective in the Sunday paper, our market is overflowing with homes for sale like the lower 48, new and old. The population has not increased to support more home builders. I know several very good home builders here that have not been able to unload newly built homes in new subdivisions with covenants. One in three housing units in Alaska is a rental. In North Pole, AK alone, (not counting Fairbanks, Salcha, Fox, etc.) there have been 90 VACANT rental properties in Dec08, Jan09, Feb09. It dropped to 80 available in March 09. When I moved here, there were only a handful vacant at a time. The area has been overbuilt with rentals as the two military bases built their own housing. Auto sales have been down to approximately TWO vehicles sold per month per dealership. We have a two lane highway into /out of town. I'm alone on the road sometimes during the day. __5) OTHER JOBS. If you're in the medical field (RN, DR, Pharmacist) you'll be most likely snatched up right away with our one civilian hospital (no guarantees) and make a really good living. If you have trade skills and you're good at what you do you have GOOD POTENTIAL to make it here in the INTERIOR. It may require some networking. ---When making move decisions, think about COLA (cost of living adjustment) when you're looking at the wages/salaries. Will it really be beneficial to make more to be taxed more (federal) and to incur more expenses? __6) HUNTING/ FISHING/ OUTDOORS. It may be worth the tradeoff! I have a moose that travels through my backyard every winter, sometimes the summer. Ravens rip open my trash if I set it out in the bed of the truck too soon before leaving for the transfer station. I saw a little red fox on the side of the road last month as well as a bunch of moose. On our to-do list every year: Moose hunt, Dahl sheep hunt, dip netting salmon, trout fishing, hope to win a lottery to hunt bison (like hunting on a farm) ... grouse hunting to watching the winter Northern lights dance. In the winter you smell burning pine and other wood in wood stoves. You see rabbits running around in the spring. In the SUMMER, wild roses, orchids, raspberries grow in the yard.... And when it's full sun at midnight you look at your watch with surprise and debate whether it's time to go back into the house and go to sleep.

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