The Major Industries in the United States

In general, industries produce a closely related group of products, materials, or resources that serve a human purpose. For instance, one may refer to the construction industry or the textile industry. In political science, an industry is the physical activity resulting from an economic system. So, in economics, industries contribute to overall economic performance through the activities of the producers and consumers in the market.


The production process in an industry relates to its scale and how goods are produced economically. Large-scale and complex production may take place in the aerospace industry, chemical industry, electrical equipment manufacturer, pharmaceuticals, steel manufacturer, petroleum refining and coal production, or plastic manufacturer. However, in a small-scale sector, such as the food processing industry, the production can be as simple as the manufacture of sugar, yeast, coffee, or tea. A small-scale industry produces and distributes goods for personal, institutional, and societal use. Goods produced by such a sector may include personal care items such as soaps, shampoos, detergent, and cosmetics, and institutional goods such as school books, notebooks, and office supplies.

The tourism industry in the United States, for example, refers to any activity that results in the acquisition of foreign travel rights. For example, if a tourist wanted to visit the U.S., and specifically to a particular kind of attraction, that tourist would likely have to engage in travel to the destination in question. In this sense, the tourism industry is distinct from the small-scale sector described above. Even though the tourist industry constitutes a significant portion of the American economy, many economists argue that it has relatively minimal overall economic impact.