The Biggest Industries In Nevada

The tourism industry is one of Nevada's biggest industries.
The tourism industry is one of Nevada's biggest industries.

Nevada has one of the strongest economies in the US. The state is officially known as the “Silver State”. Thanks to the importance of silver to its history and economy. Today, the economy of Nevada is driven by tourism and gaming, mining and cattle ranching. In 2018, Nevada’s total state product was $710 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Nevada’s per capita personal income was $43,820 in 2018 ranking the state 35th in the nation.

The economy of Nevada has long been tied to vice industries, among them entertainment and gambling. Nevada’s various economic sectors differ largely between various regions of the state. Industrial outputs of Nevada include mining, tourism, electrical equipment, food processing, printing and publishing and machinery.

The following are some of the biggest industries in Nevada.


Nevada has a multi-billion-dollar tourism industry. The state’s tourism industry includes hospitality, gaming and leisure sectors. Nevada is best known for Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is best known for gambling and nightlife. Large and luxurious casinos in Las Vegas attract millions of gamblers. Gambling was legalized in the state in 1931. Gambling taxes are a primary source of state revenue.

Nevada also has diverse natural settings that attract millions of tourists every year. Millions of people from all over the world travel to Nevada to enjoy the scenery, and resorts centred in the cities of Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno. Major tourist attractions are the ski slopes in and around Truckee, the Great Basin National Park and the Valley of Fire State Park. Many other significant cultural, recreational and agricultural attractions are also located in the state.

In 2018, the tourism industry of Nevada generated a state economic impact of $67.6 billion. As of 2018, Nevada’s tourism industry employed more than 450,00 people. Besides, nearly 50% of all workers in Nevada are employed by service industries related to tourism. The gross gaming revenue reported by casinos in 2018 was nearly $12 billion.


The mining industry of Nevada is a major economic engine in parts of the state outside the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Reno. This industry is also Nevada’s largest export industry. The most important minerals mined are gold and silver. Nevada is the leading producer of gold and silver in the US. Nevada produces ¾ of the gold produced in the US. The state is also one of the largest sources of gold in the world. In 2018, Nevada produced 78% of the total US gold and 5% of the world’s total production.

Other minerals in Nevada include copper, diatomite, gypsum, lithium, molybdenum, iron, petroleum, salt, magnesite, carbonate, limestone and gravel. Nevada is also home to one of the largest geothermal fields in the world, where geothermal heat in mined for the generation of electricity.

The mining industry of Nevada is a vital driver of technological advancement in the state, driving the state’s innovation and engineering. In 2018, mining in Nevada contributed $8.42 billion to the state’s economy, gold and silver contributing $7.2 billion of these amounts. The same year, the mining industry of Nevada directly employed more than 14,000 people while 75,000 others were supported in jobs related to providing goods and services from the mining industry.


Agriculture is one of Nevada’s most important industries, even though the industry goes unnoticed behind the glare of casinos and tourist attractions. Agriculture contributes significantly towards the economy of the rural areas of Nevada. The terrain of Nevada is largely desert and semi-dessert.

Cattle ranching is the main agricultural activity in rural Nevada, followed by sheep rearing. Cattle ranching is carried out in the high plateau areas which are majorly rangelands. Cattle ranching is concentrated in the Northern part of the state. Elko county is one of the leading counties in the number of beef cows. These animals forage on the rangelands in summer, and are supplemented with feed in winter. Idaho, California and the Mid-Western states are some of Nevada’s markets for cattle. Horses also constitute big business in Nevada, and are used both for pleasure and work. Other animals reared in the state are swine, goats, emu and llama.

Because of this arid climate, farming in Nevada is not highly developed. However, irrigation practices have made it possible to cultivate crops. Crop farming is therefore concentrated in the valleys where water is available for irrigation. Alfalfa hay is the state’s biggest crop. Nevada has about 196, 000 ha of cropland out of which 90% of this cropland is used to grow hay. Apart from feeding the livestock locally, much of this hay is sold to dairy operation in surrounding states. Alfalfa hay is also compressed into bales and exported overseas. Other crops cultivated in the state include onions, potatoes, oats, corn, garlic, barley, wheat, mint and some fruits.


Nevada is centrally located in the Western market, making it an ideal place for manufacturing and distribution. Nevada is home to more than 1,771 manufacturing farms. The manufacturing industry of accounts for 4.89% of the states total output. In 2018, the total output from the manufacturing industry in Nevada was $8.1 billion. The top manufacturing sectors in Nevada include food, beverage and tobacco products, fabricated metal products, non-metallic mineral products, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment and appliances, chemical manufacturing, plastics and rubber products, printing and related support activities, and machinery and other miscellaneous products.

The manufacturing industry of Nevada employs 4% of the workforce. Almost 40% of Nevada’s manufacturing jobs are in northern Nevada. In 2018, the major manufacturers for job growth sectors in Nevada were the motor vehicle manufacturing, aerospace products and parts manufacturing, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing. The manufacturing industry plays a major role in Nevada’s economy. In 2018, the total value of manufactured goods exports in Nevada was $10.42 billion. Manufactured goods exports support 14% of the states manufacturing jobs. 87% of all exporters in Nevada are small businesses. The manufacturing industry of Nevada grows at a faster rate than any other sector in the state.  


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