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One classical breakdown of economic activity distinguishes three sectors: *
Primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
: involves the retrieval and production of raw materials, such as corn, coal, wood or iron. Miners, farmers and fishermen are all workers in the primary sector. *
Secondary Secondary is an adjective meaning "second" or "second hand". It may refer to: * Secondary (chemistry), term used in organic chemistry to classify various types of compounds * The group of (usually at least four) defensive backs in gridiron football ...
: involves the transformation of raw or intermediate materials into goods, as in steel into cars, or textiles into clothing. Builders and dressmakers work in the secondary sector. *
Tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology ...
: involves the supplying of services to consumers and businesses, such as babysitting, cinemas or banking. Shopkeepers and accountants work in the tertiary sector. In the 20th century, economists began to suggest that traditional tertiary services could be further distinguished from "
quaternary The Quaternary ( ) is the current and most recent of the three period (geology), periods of the Cenozoic era (geology), Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It follows the Neogene Period and spans ...
" and
quinary Quinary (base-5 or pental) is a numeral system with 5 (number), five as the base (exponentiation), base. A possible origination of a quinary system is that there are five finger, digits on either hand. In the quinary place system, five numerals, ...
service sectors. Economic activity in the hypothetical quaternary sector comprises information- and knowledge-based services, while quinary services include industries related to
human services Human services is an interdisciplinary field of study with the objective of meeting human needs through an applied knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall qual ...
and
hospitality Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with some amount of goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt describes ...
. Economic theories divide economic sectors further into economic industries.


Historic evolution

An economy may include several sectors that evolved in successive phases: * The ancient economy built mainly on the basis of
subsistence farming Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmer A farmer (also called an agriculturer) is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development ...
. * The
industrial revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
lessened the role of
subsistence A subsistence economy is an economy directed to basic subsistence (the provision of food, clothing, shelter) rather than to the market. Henceforth, "subsistence" is understood as supporting oneself at a minimum level. Often, the subsistence econom ...
farming, converting land-use to more extensive and monocultural forms of agriculture over the last three centuries. Economic growth took place mostly in the mining, construction and manufacturing industries. * In the economies of modern consumer societies, services, finance, and technology—the
knowledge economy The knowledge economy (or the knowledge-based economy) is an economic system in which the production of goods and services is based principally on knowledge-intensive activities that contribute to a rapid pace of advancement in Technology, te ...
—play an increasingly significant role. Even in modern times,
developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a less developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no ...

developing countries
tend to rely more on the first two sectors, in contrast to
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
.


By ownership

An economy can also be divided along different lines: *
Public sector The public sector (also called the state sector) is the part of the economy composed of both public service A public service is a service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administ ...
or state sector *
Private sector The private sector is the part of the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of indust ...
or privately run businesses *
Voluntary sector The voluntary sector, independent sector, or civic sector is the duty of social activity undertaken by organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, a ...


See also

*
Three-sector theory The three-sector model in economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (econom ...
*
Jean Fourastié Jean Fourastié (; 15 April 1907 in Saint-Benin-d'Azy, Nièvre - 25 July 1990 in Douelle, Lot (department), Lot) was a France, French economist, notable for having coined the expression ''Trente Glorieuses'' ("the glorious thirty
ears The ear is the organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ ...
) to descr ...
*
Industry classification Industry classification or industry taxonomy is a type of economic taxonomy An economic taxonomy is a system of classification of economic activity, including products, companies and industries. Some economists believe that the study of economic po ...
**
International Standard Industrial ClassificationThe International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, secu ...
**
North American Industry Classification System The North American Industry Classification System or NAICS () is a classification of business establishments by type of economic activity (process of production). It is used by government and business in Canada Canada is a country in the n ...
– a sample application of sector-oriented analysis *
Division of labour The division of labour is the separation of tasks in any economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an ...
*
Economic development In the economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act o ...


References

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