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What is industry?

A machine at a chocolate factoryA machine at a chocolate factoryThe word “industry” describes an activity that produces the goods or services that people need or want. We think of industry as factories where things are manufactured using machines. But industry also includes a whole range of activities including farming, retail (shops), transport, tourism and office work.

Aircraft manufacturing plantAircraft manufacturing plant

Types of industry

There are four types of industry. Primary industries are those that extract or grow raw materials. These include mining, fishing, farming and forestry. Secondary industries are manufacturing industries. These turn raw materials into products such as cars, books, pharmaceuticals (drugs for use in medicine) and buildings.

Tertiary industries are service industries. These provide services for people. These industries include transport, shops, healthcare, banking, education, leisure and tourism. Quarternary industries are hi-tech, knowledge-based industries.

China is the top manufacturing country in the world by output, a title held by the USA for over 100 years until 2010.

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