Looking for good-paying jobs, Please focus on mining jobs

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Mining is becoming increasingly important to Alaskans looking for good-paying jobs. Not only does the industry provide high wages, the geographical diversity of the mines provides employment opportunities to oftentimes economically challenged rural regions of the vast state.

According to the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the number of mining jobs in Alaska has jumped 40.3 percent since 2000, almost triple the statewide average employment growth of 14.1 percent for the decade. This work force expansion is especially strong when compared with nationwide mining employment growth of only 1.5 percent for the same period.

'During the last 10 years, Alaska's mining employment has outpaced the nation's (employment) by nearly 40 percent and most of (the state's) other private industries. These numbers do not include the self-employed who were especially important in the 141 placer mines operating across the state in 2009. Consequently, mining's contribution to employment and earnings in the state could be underestimated,' state labor economists Alyssa Shanks, Mali Abrahamson, and Liz Baron wrote in the department's latest report on the Alaska workplace.

According to the October edition of Alaska Economic Trends, the 2,126 miners in Alaska included in the state's estimate brought home US$193.7 million in 2009.

Big paychecks for Alaska miners

Alaska miners brought home an average annual wage of US$91,100 in 2009, an amount second only to average wages earned by the state's oil and gas workers, and nearly double the US$46,600 statewide average income for all workers.

The majority of the high-paying mining occupations do not require a college degree. According to the Department of Labor, 15 of the top 20 mining jobs require on-the-job training or previous work experience, while an associate's degree or vocational training is a prerequisite for three other mining occupations. Only engineers and upper management require a bachelor's degree o

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