service industry

Industry that provides services rather than goods. Economists divide the products of all economic activity into two broad categories, goods and services. Industries that produce goods (tangible objects) include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction. Service industries include everything else: banking, communications, wholesale and retail trade, all professional services such as engineering and medicine, all consumer services, and all government services. The proportion of the world economy devoted to services rose rapidly in the 20th century. In the U.S. alone, the service sector accounted for more than half the gross domestic product in 1929, two-thirds in 1978, and more than three-quarters in 1993. Worldwide, the service sector accounted for more than three-fifths of global gross domestic product by the early 21st century. As increases in automation facilitate productivity, a smaller workforce is able to produce more goods, and the service functions of distribution, management, finance, and sales become relatively more important.

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Public and private organizations involved in the discovery, development, and manufacture of drugs and medications. Historically, medicines were prepared by physicians and later by apothecaries. Today, drug development relies on the collaboration and effort of highly trained scientists at universities and private companies. The modern era of drug discovery and development originated in the 19th century when scientists learned how to isolate and purify medicinal compounds and developed large-scale manufacturing techniques. As understanding of biology and chemistry improved in the 20th century, the occurrence and severity of such diseases as typhoid fever, poliomyelitis, and syphilis were greatly reduced. While many drugs, such as quinine and morphine, are extracted from plant substances, others are discovered and synthesized by techniques including combinatorial chemistry and recombinant DNA technology. The pharmaceutical industry has greatly aided medical progress, and many new drugs have been discovered and produced in industrial laboratories. Identifying new drug targets, attaining regulatory approval, and refining drug discovery processes are among the challenges that the pharmaceutical industry faces in the continual advancement of control and elimination of disease.

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Group of productive organizations that produce or supply goods, services, or sources of income. In economics, industries are customarily classified as primary, secondary, and tertiary; secondary industries are further classified as heavy and light. Primary industry includes agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and extracting minerals. Secondary or manufacturing industry processes the raw materials supplied by primary industries into consumer goods, or further processes goods from other secondary industries, or builds capital goods used to manufacture consumer and nonconsumer goods; secondary industry also includes energy-producing industries and the construction industry. Tertiary or service industry includes banking, finance, insurance, investment, and real estate services; wholesale, retail, and resale trade; transportation, information, and communications services; professional, consulting, legal, and personal services; tourism, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment; repair and maintenance services; education and teaching; and health, social welfare, administrative, police, security, and defense services.

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Taking, processing, and marketing of fish and other seafood from oceans, rivers, and lakes. Fishing is one of the primary forms of food production; it ranks with farming and probably predates it. The fishing industry employs more than 5 million people worldwide. The major countries engaged in marine fishing are Japan, China, the U.S., Chile, Peru, India, South Korea, Thailand, and the countries of northern Europe. The aquatic life harvested includes both marine and freshwater species of fish, shellfish, mammals, and seaweed. They are processed into food for human consumption, animal feeds, fertilizers, and ingredients for use in other commercial commodities.

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