What Are The Biggest Industries In New York?

Industrial buildings in Manhattan, New York, USA.
Industrial buildings in Manhattan, New York, USA.

The state of New York is located in the northeastern region of the United States and is one of the original colonies. As of 2019, it had an estimated population of 19.45 million people with New York City being its most populous city. In 2018, New York had a gross state product of a whopping $1.7 trillion making it the third-largest economy among the 50 states. To put this figure into perspective, New York would be either the 12th or the 13th largest economy in the world if it were an independent nation. With such a high figure, it is not a surprise that the state is a leading center for several sectors like tourism, technology, media and entertainment, finance, and other things. Indeed, these are some of the state’s major industries.

Major Industries In New York

The major industries in New York are not just leading in the state. Instead, they are some of the ones that are responsible for setting world trends, which just shows how big they are. Some of these industries are discussed below.


This sector is responsible for a wide array of exports to foreign countries and states as well as local use. Some of the products they manufacture include general software, mobile devices, clothes, glass, and many more. The state’s manufacturing hub is situated to the east of Staten Island and Newark, which is an area generally known as the Five Boroughs by the locals.

Just like in other places, the state has adopted extensive use of technology in order to boost production, increase efficiency, and lower costs. This is why places like the Silicon Alley and the Tech Valley have emerged. The Silicon Alley alone generated a little over $7 billion in 2015 in the form of venture capital investment. Tech Valley is smaller but it managed to generate at least $163 million in the form of venture capital investment in the same year.

Financial Services

New York is home to the famous Wall Street in Manhattan. It is also the home of the New York Stock Exchange, which has been in operation since 1817 and has since grown to have an extensive influence in the world today. It is not a sector that tops the charts in providing employment to the people of New York but there is no question that it provides some of the most lucrative opportunities. On average, people in this sector earn at least four times the state average. In total, there are around 330,000 financial services employees in the state. Most of the financial services are in New York City.

Media And Entertainment

New York City is considered the world’s media capital for a good reason. Some of the biggest and most important media houses are in New York, which means it influences global trends. In North America, New York has the largest media market with some of the influential media houses including CNN, The New York Times Company, the Fox Corporation and News Corp, the Hearst Corporation, and many more.

The state encourages this sector to flourish and generate even more income. For example, as of 2014, it was giving tax incentives for filmmaking to the tune of up to $240 million. Consequently, the filmed entertainment industry has been growing and managed to bring in close to $9 billion in 2015 alone.

Health Care

With a population of close to 20 million people and the prevailing life trends, it is crucial for each state to be equipped with top medical facilities. For this reason, it is not a surprise that the New York Department of Labor states the medical sector provides employment to the highest number of people compared to other sectors.  

Interestingly, however, the health care sector does not pay as much as the financial services sector. Data shows that the median wages for workers in this sector are lower than the state average. Despite all this, the sector is steadily growing because of programs like the Community Health Clinic Expansion Program, the Bio & Health Tech Entrepreneurship Lab NYC, and PILOT Health Tech NYC.  


The areas between cities in New York are rich agricultural zones except for the mountainous regions. In the Ice Age, New York was glaciated extensively, which left most of it with deep and fertile soil. For example, plenty of apples (a leading crop in New York) are produced at the Finger Lakes regions. In addition, the state is known for several vineyards, pears, potatoes, strawberries, dairy goods, maple syrup, and others. About 25% of the state’s area is occupied by farms. The Department of Agriculture and Markets reported in 2005 that the agricultural sector of the state generated around $3.6 billion.

Other Industries

Education is not a sector that is considered a driver of the economy of most places but it is in New York. The industry has an immense impact on the local populace as well as foreigners who eventually join the workforce. Most of the workers are employed by the government although privately-owned institutions also have a substantial share. Unsurprisingly, this sector’s growth is directly proportional to the population levels.

Retail trade is also another sector that plays a role and includes sub-industries like clothing, food and beverage, among others. The Retail Council of New York State reports that nearly 1 million people work in the retail sector in New York. These people are spread out all over the city in areas like Jefferson County and Manhattan.


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