What Is Secondary Economic Activity?

Secondary economic activity, also known as the secondary sector of an economy, is the portion of the economy that is concerned with receiving raw materials and transforming them into serviceable items, properties or other goods. According to Matt Rosenberg at About.com, this means that secondary activity is most prominently found in areas such as manufacturing, processing and construction. For example, both heavy and light industry are integral parts of secondary economic activity.

According to Princeton University, economies work in stages. Each stage or sector is responsible for a certain set of activities. The secondary sector is where resources are molded into tools and products for the economy and society to use. This is in the form of salable goods delivered to the consumer or in the production of materials used to strengthen infrastructure or business. A great deal of energy is required for secondary economic activity to feed factories, mills and plants. This sector consumes a lot of fuel resources and produces much waste. Consequently, secondary economic activity draws considerable attention from environmental regulators who seek to govern and improve its practices.

Divisions of secondary economic activity are quite varied and involve the production of diverse goods and services. Princeton University lists several, including aerospace and automobile manufacturing, along with the brewing, energy, textile, chemical and tobacco industries. Of course, goods and services produced in this sector are important for the domestic economies of countries and also to generate revenue through international commerce via export.