A glance the leading industries in the U.S. reveals a few surprises – and less diversity than you might think.
A unique state identity
While each U.S. state is unique in its cultural identity, the lay of the land determines which industries will thrive. Where some regions are ideal for agriculture, others have built a strong foundation of industry and research, and still others have established themselves as tourism hubs.
Whatever industry has staked its claim in your particular state, it has a direct link to your state exports and local economy.
It’s important to note that the most profitable industry is not necessarily the biggest industry in each state. The following figures are based on the value of top-selling industry products in 2017, using Harmonized System (HS) codes and U.S. Census Bureau data.
Rounding out the top five:
Texas– Abundant oil supply helped the Lone Star State bring in more than $73 billion from mineral products last year.
Washington– Despite a 9% drop from the previous year, aerospace still pulled in $42 billion for Washington state in 2017.
California– Machinery and mechanical appliances lead the Golden State, to the tune of $27 billion.
New York– Diamonds are New York’s best friend, where the precious metals and stones industry earned more than $25 billion in export sales.
Louisiana– It’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes Louisiana a hub for mineral products, particularly oil. The industry raked in more than $23 billion in exports last year.
Diversify and conquer
While some of these designations are nearly automatic – like fishing in Maine and Alaska – others are more surprising. Most surprising of all is the variety, or lack thereof: 50 states share a mere 11 major industries. When those industries are touched by market volatility or trade disruptions, it can prompt a ripple effect across several state economies.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of each state’s major industry, and the value of top-selling products last year:
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