There is lots of economic activity in the world today. They all take place in 3 sectors: primary, secondary and tertiary. (Those are the only ones you need to know about!) But what do these sectors do and how dominant are they?

Primary sector

The primary sector is made up of industries that gather resources. These industries include farming, fishing and mining.

Secondary sector

The secondary sector is made up of industries that make products. These industries include construction and manufacturing (making things such as mobile phones and sausages.)

Factory workers like these make products such as mobile phones, which is a very tiring job.

Tertiary sector

The tertiary sector is made up of industries that provide services, such as hospitals, hairdressers and internet service providers.

Which is the most dominant sector?

From around 1900 onwards (and it’s still the case today) the tertiary sector has been the most important in people’s lives. But it hasn’t always been that way.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s and 1800s, it was the secondary sector that was the most dominant, thanks to the rise of large factories and fast machines.

But as we moved into the 20th century, the tertiary sector became the most popular.


Not In The Curriculum box (What is this?)

This knowledge is very useful if you work in the stock market, accounting or if you are thinking about setting up or joining a business.