An industry is a particular sector or economic activity in the business world that involves certain job roles and workplaces. Industries typically provide services, products, or sources of income.
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) says there are 20 industries and classifies them into types of business industries, such as construction, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Types of Business Industries
1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
Industry Size: $535.8 billion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Tyson Foods, Inc., Cargill, Incorporated, Bayer Corp.
The agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry puts food on our tables through farming, raising cattle, and growing crops. Businesses in this industry type range from small family farms that supply local areas to huge multinational companies that export the products they farm.
Companies in this industry produce products such as rice, soybeans, and beef for human and animal consumption.
- Crop Production
- Animal Production and Aquaculture
- Forestry and Logging
- Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping
- Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry
2. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
Industry Size: $7,107.49 billion globally in 2022.
Largest companies: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell.
This business industry example involves the extraction of natural resources, such as oil and gas, using techniques like mining. These resources are used to power our houses, cars, and machinery.
Companies in this industry create products such as oil, gas, and petroleum and even metals like gold and iron. Many US companies are known worldwide and sell their products globally.
- Oil and Gas Extraction
- Mining (except Oil and Gas)
- Support Activities for Mining
Industry Size: $962.5 billion in 2022 in the US
Largest companies: Pacific Gas & Electric, Consolidated Edison, Southern California Edison.
This business industry distributes natural or artificial resources and uses them to power our homes, businesses, cars, and more. Most of us use utilities in our homes every day, such as gas and electricity.
Utility companies generate and distribute electric power from both fossil fuels and renewable sources. This type of business industry in the US primarily produces power nationally or at the state level.
Industry Size: $1.9 trillion in 2021 in the US.
Largest companies: Bechtel Group Inc., AESOM, Turner Construction.
This example of an industry is one that builds our homes, offices, and other personal and commercial property. As demand for housing increases across the world along with the global population, the construction industry continues to boom.
The construction industry builds commercial properties and homes and is also involved in civil engineering projects and infrastructure projects. This industry even covers building finishing contractors, such as insulation installers.
- Construction of Buildings
- Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
- Specialty Trade Contractors
Industry Size: $8.8 trillion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Apple, Microsoft, P&G, HP.
This major industry is one of the biggest in the world because it encompasses so many smaller sub-industries. Manufacturing basically refers to anything you can manufacture, i.e., make.
Products created by this industry include electronics such as mobile phones, food, clothing, transport equipment, and furniture and homeware. In the US, the manufacturing industry imports many of its products to other countries, especially Silicon Valley tech companies such as Apple.
- Food Manufacturing
- Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing
- Textile Mills
- Textile Product Mills
- Apparel Manufacturing
- Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
- Wood Product Manufacturing
- Paper Manufacturing
- Printing and Related Support Activities
- Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
- Chemical Manufacturing
- Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
- Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
- Primary Metal Manufacturing
- Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
- Machinery Manufacturing
- Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
- Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing
- Transportation Equipment Manufacturing
- Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
- Miscellaneous Manufacturing
6. Wholesale Trade
Industry Size: $11.4 trillion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Sysco, Rexel USA, Exxon Mobil Corporation.
This major type of business involves businesses with resources and products selling those resources to other businesses, so they can use them to create new products which they sell to consumers.
These items are most commonly sold to retailers. Some of the wholesale products sold include clothing, car parts, building materials, fruit, and vegetables – essentially any products you’d buy from a retailer.
- Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods
- Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
- Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers
7. Retail Trade
Industry Size: $6.5 trillion in the US.
Largest companies: Walmart, Amazon, The Home Depot.
This company industry sells products to consumers, usually either online, in a physical store, or both. Over the last 10 years, many more companies have created an online presence, and some, like Amazon, only exist online. The industry encompasses tons of sub-industries because included in the retail trade are almost all consumer products.
Examples of retail products include food, electronics, home furnishings, accessories, and health and personal care.
- Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers
- Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers
- Food and Beverage Retailers
- Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronics, and Appliance Retailers
- General Merchandise Retailers
- Health and Personal Care Retailers
- Gasoline Stations and Fuel Dealers
- Clothing, Clothing Accessories, Shoe, and Jewelry Retailers
- Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, Book, and Miscellaneous Retailers
8. Transportation and Warehousing
Industry Size: $15.71 billion in 2022 globally.
Largest companies: UPS, USPS, J.B Hunt Transport Services.
The transportation and warehousing industries cover logistics and public transportation solutions. Services provided by this industry example include the postal service, air and rail travel, and keeping items for wholesalers in warehouses.
Many of the world’s most famous courier services, like FedEx and UPS, are also included in this industry category, and it continues to grow thanks to more online shopping and globalization.
- Air Transportation
- Rail Transportation
- Water Transportation
- Truck Transportation
- Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
- Pipeline Transportation
- Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation
- Support Activities for Transportation
- Postal Service
- Couriers and Messengers
- Warehousing and Storage
Industry Size: $147.58 billion in 2022 globally.
Largest companies: IBM, Microsoft, HP, Apple, Oracle.
The company type included in the information industry usually deals with media, broadcasting, publishing, or technology. Some information companies provide web hosting and computer infrastructure services, while others provide content, such as news companies or TV production companies.
This industry is set to continue to boom, thanks to an increasingly digital world and an ever-growing need for software to assist with regular tasks.
- Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries
- Publishing Industries
- Broadcasting and Content Providers
- Computing Infrastructure Providers, Data Processing, Web Hosting, and Related Services
- Web Search Portals, Libraries, Archives, and Other Information Services
10. Finance and Insurance
Industry Size: $5.7tr in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs.
The finance industry is one of the business industries that deals less in physical products and more in financial products. The financial and insurance industry is mainly made up of banks, investment bodies, and insurance companies.
Within this industry, you can purchase loans, mortgages, insurance policies, and other financial products. This industry also involves the financial markets, including stock markets, shares, and bonds.
- Monetary Authorities-Central Bank
- Credit Intermediation and Related Activities
- Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities
- Insurance Carriers and Related Activities
- Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial Vehicles
11. Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
Industry Size: $226.8bn in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Prologis, Inc., American Tower Corporation, Keller Williams Realty.
The real estate industry includes companies that buy and sell houses, as well as real estate agencies that rent houses. These companies sell houses or offer short and long-term rents, and they tend to make their money on commission and fees.
Consumer goods rentals are also included in this business type. That means if you rent a car or a storage unit, this comes under the category of real estate, rental, and leasing.
- Real Estate
- Rental and Leasing Services
- Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible Assets (except Copyrighted Works)
12. Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Industry Size: $2.8 trillion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: McKinsey & Company, WPP, Kirkland Ellis.
This category specializes in providing services instead of products. The types of companies included tend to be consultancies or companies you outsource a particular task to, such as marketing. These services can be provided either to consumers or other businesses, depending on the niche.
Services provided in this industry include legal services, advertising services, research and development services, and management services.
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
13. Management of Companies and Enterprises
Industry Size: $329 billion in the US.
Largest companies: AMS, KPMG, PwC.
This example of an industrial business includes establishments that hold the securities or equity interests in companies and enterprises for the purpose of influencing decisions made at the highest level.
These companies sometimes administer and manage parts of the company, and are involved in organizational planning at every level. Unlike other industries on the link, companies in this industry don’t tend to sell straight to consumers.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
14. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
Industry Size: $360.20 billion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Waste Management, Inc., ABM Industries, ServiceMaster Clean.
The name of industry doesn’t cover everything contained within this industry, which mainly relates to offering services from business to business. Within this sector is included cleaning staff, administrative workers, office clerks, and security guards.
This industry doesn’t make or sell products, but instead focuses on providing administrative, security, and waste management support to other businesses.
- Administrative and Support Services
- Waste Management and Remediation Services
15. Educational Services
Industry Size: $1.72 bn in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Coursera, Harvard University, Stride, Inc.
The educational services industry relates to every aspect of education, from schools to universities, training centers, and companies which offer online courses.
Some of these establishments are privately owned and run for profit, while others are publicly owned and operated not for profit. Many educational establishments, such as universities and boarding schools, also provide food and accommodation to students.
- Educational Services
16. Health Care and Social Assistance
Industry Size: $3.3 trillion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Hca Healthcare, Inc., Quest Diagnostics, Inc., Feeding America.
Next up on our list of industries, the health care and social assistance industry comprises companies that provide health care and social assistance for individuals. Services in this industry tend to be delivered by trained professionals and include medical care, long-term support, and social work.
Many roles in this industry, such as medical professionals, require a college degree.
- Ambulatory Health Care Services
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
- Social Assistance
17. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
Industry Size: $372 billion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: AMC Entertainment, Disney Parks, Caesars Entertainment.
This industry includes a range of establishments that operate facilities and locations or services to meet the interests of visitors and consumers. These establishments might be cultural, recreational, or purely for entertainment purposes only.
Think of theme parks, museums, sporting industries, and casinos. These companies might exist for one-off visits and experiences or as part of a broader leisure pursuit.
- Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries
- Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions
- Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries
18. Accommodation and Food Services
Industry Size: $1.4 trillion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: Starbucks Corporation, Marriot International, Inc., McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd.
This sector is one of the best-known business industry types. Every time you go out to a restaurant or stay at a hotel, you’re supporting a business from this industry. All companies included in this sector either provide customers with lodging or meals, snacks, and drinks for immediate consumption.
Some establishments offer both in the same place, such as hotels with on-site restaurants.
- Food Services and Drinking Places
19. Other Services (except Public Administration)
Industry Size: Data unavailable.
Largest companies: Midas International, Feed the Children, Inc., The Salvation Army.
This sector comprises different industries in business; their commonality is that they don’t fit into any other of the NAICS categories. The companies in this industry are not part of public administration, but may provide services such as maintenance and repairs, promoting religious activities, laundry services, dating services, and personal care services.
Also included in this industry are private households that employ workers to carry out roles within the home.
- Repair and Maintenance
- Personal and Laundry Services
- Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations
- Private Households
20. Public Administration
Industry Size: $46.69 billion in 2022 in the US.
Largest companies: FBI, US Marine Corps, United States Federal Government.
The types of industries in business covered in this classification relate to governmental work. These establishments are state, federal, and local government agencies that oversee public programs.
Each establishment will have executive authority over institutions such as public schools in a given area. They can set policy, create laws, oversee legal cases, and provide public provisions.
- Executive, Legislative, and Other General Government Support
- Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities
- Administration of Human Resource Programs
- Administration of Environmental Quality Programs
- Administration of Housing Programs, Urban Planning, and Community Development
- Administration of Economic Programs
- Space Research and Technology
- National Security and International Affairs