The modern structure of the US economy is dominated by the service sector (75%), which indicates the country’s transition to the post-industrial stage of development. In agriculture, only 2% of GDP is created, in industry – 23%.

The most important feature of the US economy was the equalization of the location of the economy. In the recent past, the country’s economy has been dramatically dominated by the North. Over the years, inter-district contrasts in the United States have been smoothed out.

A characteristic feature of the economy is hyperspecialization – hyper-refined specialization of districts and centers in certain sectors of the economy. Specialized areas play a leading role in both individual industries and agriculture. For example, the lion’s share of the textile and furniture industry is concentrated in the southeast of the country. In the past, Michigan led the way in car production. Currently, the share of this state in the automotive industry has decreased, but now 1/3 of the country’s cars are produced here.

A new direction in the  ideology and forms of organization of production was post-Fordism. Its development led to a departure from Fordism with its large scale of production, specialization, seriality, and huge armies of workers. Giant factories are being replaced by smaller but flexible enterprises capable of rapid re-equipment in a changing market.

Knowledge-intensive production has become particularly widespread in the United States. These include many branches of general engineering, electronics, fine chemistry, aerospace industry. Knowledge-intensive industries are located in specialized areas. The main factors of placement: the proximity of large universities, a favorable natural environment that attracts the creative intelligentsia. The Silicon Valley near San Jose (California) and the area of Road  128 near Baltimore stand out. Thus, in Silicon Valley, almost 20% of the world’s production of computer equipment and components for it is concentrated.

Industry is distinguished by the priority development of such knowledge-intensive industries as: electronics; production of telecommunications; aerospace; scientific instrumentation; laser, vacuum, semiconductor and other industries. Labor productivity in industry is  the highest in the world, but in terms of productivity growth, the United States lags behind the leading European countries and Japan.

In the United States, all industries have developed, starting with traditional  (metallurgy, automotive, shipbuilding, etc.) and ending with the most advanced and modern (biotechnology, microelectronics, production of spacecraft, etc.). Statistics show that the highest incomes at the end of the twentieth century were brought by the electronic and electrical industries.

Electricity. In terms of the total capacity of power plants (about 900 million kW), the United States ranks first in the world. The United States also has the first place in the production of electricity. In 2000, 3 trillion  712 billion kW were produced. Hours.

In the structure of electricity generation, 69.3% falls on thermal power plants (TPPs) operating on coal, natural gas and fuel oil, and the rest is distributed between nuclear power plants (18%),  hydroelectric power plants (10.5%) and power plants using alternative energy sources (2.2%).

The capacity of large thermal power plants ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 million kW. They have become widespread. Located in the Appalachian, Illinois, and Western Inner Basin, the TPPs run on coal. The same powerful thermal power plants are built on the Atlantic coast.  For work, they use fuel oil obtained as a result of processing imported oil. Large thermal power plants on natural gas and fuel oil have also been built in the southwestern states that use California’s oil refining waste.

Nuclear energy in the United States has been developed since the late 50s. However, the attitude to it in different periods was ambiguous. The industry developed rapidly in the 70s. However, serious accidents at nuclear power plants in the United States itself (the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1979) and abroad, in particular, the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the problems of radioactive waste disposal, the growth of the anti-nuclear movement in the country and others led to a reduction in the construction of new nuclear power plants. Currently, there are 109 nuclear reactors in the United States, with a total capacity of 110809 MW.

A characteristic feature of the location of nuclear power plants is their orientation to a large consumer, so most of them are located within three megacities.

The role of hydroelectric power plants in the production of electricity is quite significant. There are more than 1300 of them in the country; they are in almost every state. At the same time, the largest number of them is located in the states of the Pacific Northwest and the Upper South.

The most powerful hydroelectric power station in the United States is the Grand Cooley on the Columbia River (Washington state). Its construction was started in 1933, during the Great Depression. Gradually, its capacity increased and by 2000  reached 9.8 million  kW.  This is the third place in the world after Itaipu  (12.6 million kW, Paraguay, Brazil) and Guri (10.3 million kW, Venezuela). On the Columbia River and its tributaries, 80 hydroelectric power stations have been built and are operating. This is the most powerful hydropower cascade in the world. It allowed the development of a number of energy-intensive industries in this region, including military ones.

On the Tennessee River, a left tributary of the Ohio, a cascade of hydroelectric power plants is also built, the second largest in the United States. Large hydroelectric power plants are built on the Colorado and Niagara rivers. Almost all hydroelectric power plants belong to the state.

Power plants using alternative energy sources are being built: geothermal, solar, wind, tidal, etc. The wind power industry is developing rapidly, which, at the initiative of President Clinton, has been exempt from paying taxes since 1993.

Metallurgy. This is one of the oldest sectors of the US economy. It originated in the 70s. XIX century. and largely determined the economic power of the country for more than a hundred years.

However, at present, the reduction in the production of ferrous metals is not only in the United States, but also in all developed countries. The reasons for this reduction were:

reduction of material intensity of production. Increasingly, metal is being replaced by lighter, stronger, stainless steel structural materials, the production of which has increased dramatically in recent years; depletion of domestic iron ore deposits and the transfer of the industry mainly to imported iron ore from Canada, Brazil and Venezuela; reorientation to imports of ferrous metals, especially simple grades from other countries. The U.S. own steel industry produces mostly high-quality steels; the desire to transfer so-called “dirty” industries to developing countries; post-Fordism, which means that mini-factories are developing, which better take into account the changing needs of the market,  have small capacities.

  Steel smelting is carried out by the most advanced methods: oxygen-converter and electric steelmaking. Steel production is about 99 million tons per year, this is the third place in the world after China and Japan. The largest steel producer in the United States is US Steel.

Historically, there have been three centers of ferrous metal production in the United States: the North Appalachian, or Inner, Lakeside and Atlantic. They continue to retain their importance, as large centers of metallurgy in the Lake District – Chicago and Cleveland, in the Atlantic – Sparrows Point, in the suburbs of Baltimar (7 million tons of steel per year), Bethlehem in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Trenton.

Outside of these areas, separate centers are distinguished – Birmingham in the South Appalachians, Houston (pipe rolling) and Los Angeles.

However, new trends have emerged  in the location of ferrous metallurgy enterprises. Among them is gravitation to the areas and centers of metal consumption, which causes the formation of a new type of metallurgical areas formed in the zones of developed mechanical engineering. An important feature of such areas is the active use of scrap metal as a raw material and a large proportion of enterprises of incomplete production cycle (the predominance of steelmaking and especially rolling production). At the new stage of ntR, the demand for special grades of steel  (heat-resistant, stainless, acid-resistant) and rolled products (for example, multilayer) is growing rapidly;  their production is almost entirely concentrated in economically developed countries, which are the main consumers of such products, including the United States. 

Non-ferrous metallurgy in the United States, like ferrous metallurgy, is the oldest industry. It produces structural materials of various physical and chemical properties. The structure of this industry includes aluminum, copper, lead-zinc, nickel-cobalt, etc. There are metallurgy of heavy and light non-ferrous metals, as well as the production of noble (gold, silver, platinum), rare and scattered metals (tungsten, molybdenum, germanium, etc.).

The aluminum industry is the largest sub-industry of  non-ferrous metallurgy in the United States. It includes three main stages that make up the overall production cycle: the extraction of aluminum ores; production of alumina and smelting of metallic aluminum, as well as production of rolled products and semi-finished products. In recent years, the production of metal from secondary raw materials has become increasingly important and own production of aluminum ores is  decreasing. Alumina production in the United States is about 5 million tons, and primary aluminum – 3.6 million tons per year (first place in the world). The largest company operating in this industry is Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical.

The copper industry is one of the oldest sub-sectors of non-ferrous metallurgy. In terms of consumption, copper is in third place, second only to iron and aluminum. In the production of refined copper, the United States occupies a leading position in the world (2.4 million tons). In the copper industry, key positions belong to the largest American TNCs Asarco, Kennecott, Phelps Dodge, Magma Copper, Anaconda.

In terms of refined zinc smelting, the United States ranks fourth in the world, in terms of refined lead smelting – the first (about 1 million tons). The leading position in the world is occupied by the United States in the production of molybdenum.

Mechanical engineering and metalworking is the main branch of the US manufacturing industry. It is this industry that reflects the level of scientific and technological progress and the country’s defense capability , determines the development of other sectors of the economy. American statistics divide mechanical engineering into five groups of industries: metalworking, general engineering, transport engineering, electronics and electrical engineering, instrumentation and precision engineering.

American machine tool building in the international  division of labor specializes in the production of particularly complex expensive types of equipment. The production of robots is most often engaged in firms that produce machine tools and forging and pressing equipment, electronics and electrical engineering, various kinds of vehicles. In terms of the growth  rate of production of numerically controlled machine tools (CNC) and robots, the United States ranks second after Japan. The United States has become the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of computer-aided design (CAD) and control systems (ACS), providing them with 80% of the world market. The most important area of machine tool building is Priozerny (over 50% of all employed in the industry) and New England (about 20% of the employed). The largest centers of machine tool production were Cincinnati, Providence, Rochester, Detroit, Cleveland. Forging and pressing equipment is manufactured in Chicago and Pittsburgh.

The U.S. automotive industry plays a leading role in the country’s transportation industry. It is said that the car “created America”, it turned into a symbol of American life. 90% of all families have cars. The U.S. auto industry and auto service employ more than 6 million people. This industry is the largest consumer of oil, synthetic  rubber, steel, lead.

The industry has an extremely high level of monopolization. Three companies – General Motors, Ford (the founder of which – Henry Ford created in the early twentieth century the first plant with a  production line and mass serial production of cars) and Chrysler (in 1998 merged with the German company Daimler Benz) – produce 95% of cars.

The largest automobile concern in the United States is General Motors; 258 factories in America and Europe owned by the concern employ 755 thousand people; its share in the world production of cars at the end of  the twentieth century was 16.2% (first place).

The U.S. auto industry grew rapidly; if in 1900 there were only 8 thousand cars in the  country, then in 1930 already 30 million, in 1950 more than 60% of the world’s fleet was concentrated in the United States, only in 1968 the rest of the world caught up with the United States in this indicator. Nevertheless, the situation gradually changed and the United States ceded in the mid-50s the place of  the leading exporter first to the countries of Western Europe, and in 1974 to Japan. In 1980, Japan had already overtaken the United States in the production of cars. The concepts of the development of the industry in the United States and Japan are different. So, unlike the Japanese, the US automotive industry works mainly for the domestic market. The penetration of Japanese car manufacturers into the US market has increased, not only through the export of cars, but also through their production in the United States. The total production capacity of the Japanese branches of such companies as: Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda  in the United States exceeded 2.5 million cars per year.

The situation on the world car market is unstable: since 1994, the volume of car production in Japan has again been lower than in the USA (USA – 14.5 million units; Japan – 13 million units in 2001).

In the recent past, most cars were produced in the U.S. in the Northeast, especially in the state of Michigan. Currently, the industry has received the widest production distribution. There are  automobile plants in 150 cities in 26 states of the country. However, now Detroit is the “automobile capital” of the United States. Michigan’s  role in the automotive industry has fallen, but the importance of the “assembly belt” has risen –  Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Ohio.

Aerospace Industry (ARKP). This industry is closely related to the military-industrial complex. It originated in the early twentieth century,  the first enterprises appeared in the industrial belt of the Northeast, where large enterprises of the industry still operate.  These are the aircraft engine plant in Hartford, aircraft factories in New York, Boston. During the same period, the industry spread to the Midwest, in St. Louis.

During the Second World War, the industry began to develop in the South and in the West. In the South , aircraft factories were built in Dallas and Fort Worth. Subsequently, they served as the basis for the creation of one of the largest aerospace complexes in the country. The aerospace industry has also developed in Southern California. The largest aircraft factories were built here, producing both civilian and military products (military transport aircraft, rockets, spaceships). In this area there are the largest monopolies: Lockheed, Northrop, General Dynamics, McDonell-Douglas (merged in 1996 with Boeing), Lockheed Martin.

The main area of the ARCP was established in the Pacific States even before the Second World War; This was facilitated, first of all, by the presence of a research base and infrastructure.  The main centers of the industry are: Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, San Jose, Anaheim.

In the North Pacific, in the Seattle area, the Boeing aircraft missile system dominates.  This company was founded in 1916 by the Washington businessman  W. Boeing. During the Second World War, Boeing produced bombers B-17 (“flying fortress”), B-29, transport aircraft, seaplanes. Subsequently, in the 50s, the concern began to produce jet bombers B-47 and B-12.  On the basis of military aircraft, passenger airliners of the Boeing brand were created. Currently, the Boeing  concern produces Boeing-747 passenger airliners and several other types of passenger airliners, B-52 bombers, military transport and special purpose aircraft, AWACS systems. In 1996, Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas merged. At the end of the twentieth century. jointly at the enterprises of the united concern, 388 liners were built (including 55 produced by the McDonnell-Douglas branch).

Military aircraft are also produced by Northrop Grumman. The role of American COMPANIES ARCP is very great. Most NATO countries in Western Europe are armed with US aircraft.

In the United States, the government supports the ARPK through budget funding for the development of new technologies. According to the Baker Institute (USA),  about 50% of all government subsidies fall on the aerospace industry. As a result, 70% of the total R&D expenditure (about $20 billion  per year) in this industry comes from government funding.

The U.S. accounts for 54% of the world’s aircraft sales. 

The electrical industry of the United States arose during the period of development of mass electrification of the country. In its structure, there are two groups of industries that produce: first, expensive industrial products; secondly, cheap products for wide use in all sectors of the economy and in everyday life. The first includes the production of equipment for generating electricity (generators) and for its transmission (cables), for converting electrical energy (transformers, rectifiers, electric motors), etc.

The second group of productions include those that produce mass products. This is the manufacture of electric lamps, sockets, accumulators, batteries (batteries), etc. The production of durable household equipment is of great importance – refrigerators, televisions, electric furnaces, washing machines, etc.

The largest manufacturer in the industry is General Electric, a TNC that originated in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

From the electrical industry, the electronic industry stood out. This is the most knowledge-intensive branch of modern engineering. It is possible to distinguish two sub-sectors of the electronics industry in the United States: the production of military-industrial and consumer electronics. 

In the production of consumer electronics, the United States ranks third in the world after Japan and Western Europe. The U.S. accounts  for 13% of global consumer electronics production.

A large group of electronic products that ensure the efficient operation of computers is often referred to as “electronic information processing tools”. These include: (a) technical support equipment (computers proper, equipment for the collection, storage and transmission of information); b) technological services (maintenance of hardware, software).

The U.S. specializes in supercomputing , and it’s dominated by companies like Cray, Controlling Data. Personal computers are produced by the firms “Apple”, “IBM”. IBM accounts for 50% of the world’s computer products, it produces both super and personal computers.

The share of the United States in the production of computer products exceeds 60% of world production.

The United States is a leading manufacturer of active electronic components (components for all types of electronic industry – transistors, semiconductors). The leaders in the sub-industry are TNC Intel,  Motorola and Texas Instruments. In the industry, there is a fierce competition for leadership between TNCs. Intel controls 90% of the global pc microprocessor market. It is the world leader among semiconductor producers in terms of R&D costs and investment in new technologies. 

As the circle of computer users expands, the demand for software grows. The world leader in the production of programs is the American company  Mykrasoft, which employs 12 thousand people. The United States controls up to 70% of the global software market (of the eight leading firms, seven are American).

The United States occupies a leading position in the production  of electronic communications, accounting for 55% of their world production.

Chemical industry. The United States ranks first in the world in the production of chemical goods, they are characterized by the development of both basic and organic chemistry. Basic chemistry includes the production of acids, alkalis and mineral fertilizers. The United States is one of the largest producers of sulfuric acid  (second place after China). This country is one of the leaders in the production of fertilizers. Enterprises for the production of nitrogen fertilizers are now located near gas fields or combined with enterprises of the coke-chemical industry and full-cycle ferrous metallurgy. More than 14 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers (100% of the useful substance) are produced in the country per year. The production of phosphate fertilizers is the oldest sub-sector in terms of the time of emergence of mineral fertilizers in the industry. To obtain them, two types of natural raw materials are used – phosphorites and apatites. The United States has rich deposits of phosphorites on the Florida Peninsula. Since the middle of the twentieth century, the United States has ranked first in the world in the production of phosphate fertilizers  (10.5 million tons  per year). The United States produces 1.4-1.5 million tons per year of potash fertilizers.

In 2000,  the United States led the world in the production of synthetic resins and plastics (more than 31 million tons), chemical fibers (about 5 million tons), synthetic rubber (2.5 million tons).

In the United States, the world’s most powerful industry for the production of medicines has developed.

More than half of all chemical products are currently produced by the plants of the North related to metallurgy, automotive industry, agriculture, and light industry. The largest centers of the chemical industry were: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis. The second main area in the South is the Gulf of Mexico zone, where up to 66% of polymeric materials, 50% of mineral fertilizers and pesticides are produced. The major centers of the chemical industry in the area were: Baton Rouge, Houston, Beaumont-Port Arthur.

The service sector is one of the most developed sectors of the economy, which is of great export importance (the country ranks first in the world in the export of services). American companies have a strong position in the global services markets, primarily related to information technology. In the late 90s, more than 70% of the data banks available in developed countries were concentrated in the United States. US companies specializing in information technology, on the orders of foreign firms, provide a wide range of information services. U.S. companies hold about 75% of the global computer software market. The scope of services supplied by them abroad also includes payments for the registration of patents and copyrights, the implementation of the obligations of licensors, the development of design, the transfer of experience in the management of enterprises – management, etc.

Tourism, banking, trade, medicine, education have been developed in the country. The service sector employs the largest number of US labor resources, this branch of the economy gives 80% of the increase in employment in the country. Simultaneously with the growth in the number of people employed in the field of non-material  production, there is a release of high-paying jobs in industry due to increased labor productivity, automation and mechanization of jobs.

Transport. Transportation services are of great importance to the U.S. economy. All types of transport are developed in the country, a modern transport infrastructure has been created. In terms of the volume of transport services provided, rail transport is the leader (Table 5)


Table 5 Resource requirements by component

Share of certain types of transport in the total volume of cargo turnover of the American economy in 1999,%





















Source: Russian Statistical Yearbook. – M., 2000. p. 788.

The huge role of transport for the United States is determined, first of all, by the vastness of the territory.  About 4 million people are employed in the field of transport services. The transport sector is controlled by large private companies. The role of the state is to create a transport infrastructure. The state creates airfields, equips waterways, roads.

The leading role in the cargo turnover of the United States is occupied by railway transport. The most important trend in the development of this type of transport in the late 90s was the reduction of the railway network, which is due to the oversaturation of the country’s territory with transport routes, many parallel lines. So, in the second half of the 90s. the length of the railway network decreased from 322 thousand to 295.6 thousand km, and the cargo turnover did not increase. Half of the railways are in the North. The basis of the railway system consists of seven transcontinental highways stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, in the Mississippi Valley. The largest railway junction is Chicago.

It’s hard to overstate the role of road transport, which has become an integral part of the American way of life. The typical for the United States farm type of settlement and urbanization, as well as an established system of maintenance, excellent roads led to the rapid growth of motor transport. The United States has the largest fleet in the world, in 2000 it had more than 190 million cars. The total length of roads is 5.640 million km. 

Pipeline transport began to develop in the United States earlier than in other countries. The total length of pipelines has now reached 650 thousand km. Among the pipelines are oil, gas and slurry pipelines. 75% of all transported oil moves through oil pipelines.  The vast majority of pumped loading is made up of petroleum products for domestic consumption. Most pipelines originate in the southwest (Texas) and follow to the northeast, north and west (California). The Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs from the Pradhoe Bay field in the north to the port of Valdiz in southern Alaska.

The United States is a maritime power.  The role of maritime transport is very great, especially for foreign trade. In terms of maritime traffic, the United States ranks second after Japan, and in terms of tonnage of the merchant marine fleet, it ranks only sixth. Three-quarters of the sea traffic is international, the rest is coastal: a large cabotage goes through the Panama Canal, a small one along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The main seaports are New Orleans, New York, Houston.

Airlift. Experts characterize the last ten years as a period of boom in air transport. This fully applies to the United States. The total length of the country’s air routes has almost doubled. However, the events of September 11, 2001, the fears of Americans becoming a victim of a terrorist act significantly reduced the popularity of this type of transport. The United States has the largest fleet of civil aviation aircraft, which has about 3.3 thousand units. More than 17.5 thousand airfields have been built, of which 5 thousand are state-owned, the rest are private. The main airports of the country are: New York, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix. 

US agriculture in terms of production far surpasses other developed countries, it accounts for 25% of the industry’s output in all developed countries of the world. U.S. agriculture not only meets the needs of its own population in basic food and raw materials, with the exception of some crops grown in the tropical climate zone (such as coffee, cocoa, bananas), but also produces a large number of products for export. In terms of export of agricultural products for export, the United States ranks first in the world. The U.S. share of the global food market is more than 15%. The country’s share in world trade in wheat, corn, soybeans, fruits, meat products and cotton is especially large .

The successful development of agriculture is determined by a number of factors. First of all, these are favorable soil and climatic conditions and historical prerequisites.  In 1862, the US Congress passed the Law on Hamsteads, according to which almost anyone could cheaply get a land plot on virgin land. Most of the expanses of the Near and especially the Midwest and Far West were mastered by such “hamsteders”. Then in the United States, the main types of farms were small and medium-sized farms.

The number of farms is declining, while their size and the productivity of farmers are growing. Thus, the number of farms in the United States decreased from 5.9 million in 1945 to 1.9 million in the mid-90s, and during the same period the average farm area increased  from 195 to 491 acres (respectively, from 79 to 199 hectares).  According to forecasts, at the beginning of the xxi century, the number of farms may decrease to 1.5 million, and their average size will increase by 25%.

  Small farms predominate quantitatively (less than $40,000 of marketable products). Accounting for 71% of all farms, they provide only 10% of marketable products. The main part of agricultural products is provided by large farms (over 100 thousand dollars), which make up 17% of the total number of farms.

American farmers have achieved the world’s highest productivity. While one agricultural worker in the least developed countries can hardly feed 14 people, in Western Europe – 19 people, then in the United States a farmer provides for the needs of agricultural products of 59 people. This is facilitated by the use of sophisticated and highly productive agricultural machinery, a high level of infrastructure development, as well as the protection and support of agricultural production by the state. Expenditures on the implementation of state programs in the field of agriculture and food account for 4.5% of all expenditures of the US federal budget; they are equivalent to 27 per cent of the annual value of the country’s agricultural output and are equivalent to an annual government subsidy of $410 per annum. for each hectare of arable land.

Land allotments are especially large in the West, where there are many cattle ranches with huge pastures. Most, about 70% of the country’s territory, is privately owned, the rest belongs to the state (mainly western lands).

The main branch of agriculture is animal husbandry (54% in terms of production value).  The main branches of commercial animal husbandry are beef cattle breeding, dairy farming, pig breeding and poultry farming. In increasing labor productivity in the industry, a significant role was played by the development of production and regional specialization. The vast majority of farms are specialized enterprises. At present, even specialized areas have developed: the poultry region of the South-East,  the region of beef cattle breeding – the south of the Great Plains, the Pacific region of dairy cattle breeding.

The country has a very large grain farm (third place after China and India in grain harvesting). Among cereals, the leading place is occupied by corn and wheat, a significant part of which is exported. The United States in terms of corn harvests (200 million tons annually) ranks first in the world. The country has developed a so-called “corn belt” – these are the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana.  Wheat crops are concentrated in the drier regions of the Great Plains.

The U.S. is a major producer of fruits and vegetables. The main area specializing in the cultivation of these products is the Florida Peninsula.