What Are the Major Industries in Illinois?

Doug Siefken/CC-BY 2.0

Like most states in the United States, the major industries in Illinois are service industries. Within the service industry, community, health care and personal services industries lead the way in Illinois. Other strong services are finance, real estate and insurance.

Manufacturing plays a large role in Illinois’ economy. Manufacturing jobs include construction equipment, machine tools and farm machinery. The processed food sector is ranked second in the manufacturing industries. The state’s main processed food exports include breakfast cereals, candy and sausage.

One of the fastest growing sectors in Illinois is high-tech manufacturing. Specifically, the high-tech industries of pharmaceuticals, communications equipment and magnetic and optical media had record exports in 2013, and they are projected to grow in the upcoming years. According to the Chicago Tribune, high-tech exports account for 20.4 percent of all goods exported in the state.

Another significant industry in Illinois is agriculture. The state is the leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine within the United States, and according to the USDA, the Illinois agriculture industry as a whole generates over $17 billion annually.

Within Chicago, business and services are the main job sectors. Many of the nation’s largest companies are headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area, including McDonalds, Walgreens, Motorola, Boeing and United Airlines.