Alaskans eager to hear amount of oil wealth checks

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — This year's payout to most Alaskans from the state's oil-wealth account isn't expected to be much, but it's still free money just for living in the state.

Whatever the amount announced Wednesday, the dividends will go as usual toward new toys, fun trips, college savings or paying off bills.

The announcement is an eagerly anticipated event that takes place with much fanfare in Anchorage.

The dividends are distributed annually to people who have lived in Alaska for at least one calendar year. The amount is based on a five-year rolling average of the $47 billion Alaska Permanent Fund's investment earnings.

This year's average includes 2009, a recession year when the fund posted a $2.5 billion net loss in statutory net income.

Last year's dividend was $878 per person, the lowest since 2005.

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