When economists talk about different jobs in an economy they usually divide it into three sectors, sometimes four. It’s relevant to understand the difference because even though the United States has jobs in all of the different sectors, the most important ones in the country are those located in the third sector, the service industry.
Permanent Residents looking for work in the United States would do well to focus on Tertiary sector Jobs.
- Primary Sector—The process of procuring natural resources, such as forestry, mining or farming.
- Secondary Sector—Also known as manufacturing, the refining of natural resources into products to be sold. Factories that make toothpaste tubes would be classed in the secondary sector.
- Tertiary Sector—Also known as the service industry. To be discussed in further detail below.
- (Quarternary Sector—This is a proposed fourth sector of an economy and includes information exchange. Most internet businesses are part of this sector, but can still be included in the Service Industry section.)
The service industry is involved in providing things to consumers that aren’t tangible, meaning that they aren’t objects that one can touch. Rather, their value is derived from the knowledge or information they provide.
There are many different jobs that qualify as being in the service industry, and the majority of jobs within the United States have to do with the tertiary sector. However, it can sometimes be tough to classify a job into one of the sectors.
To help in understanding the difference between the different parts of the economy look at how the job interacts with various parties:
- Primary Sector is composed of a company interacting with the Earth for resources.
- Secondary Sector is where one company with resources interacts with another company that needs those resources.
- In the Tertiary Sector a company interacts with people, or consumers.
Example of a Product’s Life Cycle
We’ll use a table to describe the process of production:
- A lumber mill cuts down trees and processes them into lumber. This is the primary sector at work.
- The lumber is sold to a workshop that shapes and fits the wood into very handsome looking tables before varnishing the surface to protect the wood. This is the secondary sector processing the wood.
- The table now sits in a furniture shop waiting for a salesman to sell it to a young couple looking to furnish their new apartment. This is the Tertiary sector.
- An example of a quarternary sector job would be an antique appraiser who would value the table years later to see if it has appreciated any value.
Service Industry Jobs.
Here’s a list of categories that are all included in the service industry part of an economy:
- Customer Service,
- Information Technology (IT),
- Restaurant business,
- Government jobs,
- Banking and financial advice,
- Media production (such as journalism, film-making or music production),
- Translation services.