The southern half of the Ural region has been a major center of Russian iron and steel production. A substantial share of Soviet petroleum was produced there, mainly in Bashkortostan. Deposits of iron ore, manganese, and aluminum ore are mined. The major industrial centers are Magnitogorsk, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, and Perm. Several freight railroads serve the area, and rivers include the Kama and Belaya in the west and the Ural in the south.
Privatization has not altered the old Soviet-style industrial structure. The proportion of employees in ex-state enterprises in the Urals is above the national average, while the proportion in new private enterprises created is a quarter below the national average.