Economic sector  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

One classical breakdown of economic activity distinguishes three sectors:

  • Primary: involves the retrieval and production of raw materials, such as corn, coal, wood and iron. (A coal miner, farmer or fisherman would be workers in the primary sector.)
  • Secondary: involves the transformation of raw or intermediate materials into goods e.g. manufacturing steel into cars, or textiles into clothing. (A builder and a dressmaker would be workers in the secondary sector.)
  • Tertiary: involves the supplying of services to consumers and businesses, such as baby-sitting, cinema and banking. (A shopkeeper and an accountant would be workers in the tertiary sector.)

In the 20th century, economists began to suggest that traditional tertiary services could be further distinguished from "quaternary" and quinary service sectors. Economic activity in the hypothetical quaternary sector comprises information- and knowledge-based services, while quinary services include industry related to human services and hospitality.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Economic sector" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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