The 11 largest industries in the US by revenue contribute the most to the U.S economy and employ tens of millions of people.
The U.S is the richest country in the world, fueled by large amounts of natural resources, a large and influential financial market and the biggest consumer market. In this way, it’s understandable that there are hundreds of industries and sub-industries that are part of the U.S economy, which employ around 154 million people, with the largest employer being the U.S government. Given that the U.S government employs around 22 million people, it’s also one of the largest industries in the economy, with a total gross output of $3.60 trillion as of 2016.
The U.S economy inched up by 1.6% in 2016 and is expected to add 2.4% this year and maintain a rate of between 2% and 3% in the near future, which is a healthy rate. Among the industries that registered the highest growth last year were Construction, IT Services, Financial Services, Business Products and Services, and Health, according to Inc. Some of these high-growth industries are also among the 11 largest industries in the US by revenue as we shall see later.
At the same time, many industries in the U.S have been struggling, particularly those related to mining and petroleum extraction. Sageworks, a financial information company, reported that private companies in the U.S registered an annual sales increase of 7% last year across all industries. However, the industry that includes companies providing support services for oil and gas extraction saw its sales slide by 23% in 2016, as oil and commodity prices declined. Lower gasoline prices also affected gasoline stations, whose revenue fell by 9%.
Other industries that saw their aggregate revenue decline were those related to building machines and metal goods, such as the metalworking machinery manufacturing industry and manufacturers of fabricated metal products like machine screws, nuts and bolts. These industries had seen significant growth after the last recession and are now seeing a cooldown, Sageworks reckons.
Different sources provide different classifications, but the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (which is part of the Department of Commerce) takes into account a total of 402 industries and sub-industries, as well as 69 commodities. To compile the list of the largest industries in the U.S by revenue, we have selected the industries or subsectors as they are classified by the North American Industry Classification System and their gross output. Gross output of industries represents a measure of an industry’s sales or receipts, which can include sales to final users or sales to other industries. However, it’s important to point out that gross output can take into account both the sales of intermediate and final products, which may result in double-counting.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the 11 largest industries in the US by revenue.