The US is rich in mineral resources and ranks first in the world in the production of oil, natural gasoline, molybdenum ore (Colorado, Idaho), mica (North Carolina, South Dakota), kaolin, phosphates (Florida, North Carolina), and salt. The USA is in second place in the production of coal, natural gas and sulfur.
The US is also a major producer of copper ores (Arizona, Montana, New Mexico), lead (Missouri), zinc (Tennessee, New York), and silver (Nevada, Idaho, Utah). Large and easily accessible deposits of iron ore are found in the Great Lakes region, especially near Lake Superior. Formerly famous gold mining (Nevada, California, South Dakota, Utah) is already limited, uranium production (New Mexico, Wyoming) is still important.
According to equzhou, the US holds nearly 1/3 of the world’s reserves of high-quality hard coal and anthracite, and about 1/8 of its lignite reserves. Coal deposits are mainly concentrated around the Appalachians, in West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, but there are also significant deposits in Illinois and Ohio. The extraction of oil and natural gas is limited for strategic reasons and a large volume of valuable fuels is imported. Traditional deposits are located in Texas and Louisiana, large reserves are in northern Alaska. Mining has shifted from exhausted fields in California to the coastal shelf, while Oklahoma and Wyoming still have important production.
Even these large sources of fuel are not enough to satisfy the demand for electricity production, which is logically by far the largest in the world. 3/4 of electricity is produced by thermal power plants, the potential of water flows has already been practically exhausted, and after a serious accident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, the opinion on the use of atomic energy changed and the construction of new central offices soon practically stopped. Ten years after that event, California voters were the first to force the government to shut down the first nuclear power plant. Even so, the US has about half of all nuclear power plants in the world on its territory. Despite the support, the use of solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy is still negligible.
The US is the world’s largest industrial power with a 25% share of world production. The most important branch is still engineering. Its backbone remains the production of means of transport, passenger cars (2nd place in the world) and buses, but also agricultural and construction equipment, currently provided by only a few large producers. The renowned production of aircraft, space and military technology was affected by the slowdown of the space program, the end of the Cold War and internal economic restrictions (a temporary recovery occurred only during the Persian Gulf crisis).
The traditional metallurgy of iron (Pennsylvania, Ohio) and non-ferrous metals, as well as heavy engineering and the production of building materials, lost their importance, and the electronics industry took second place. Thanks to the so-called microchip revolution, electronics and telecommunications technology have become the fastest growing industry and California’s Silicon Valley the world’s largest high-tech center. Other significant concentrations of “high-tech” are found in Florida, Massachusetts, Southern California, the Seattle area, and elsewhere. Also the petrochemical industry (the largest refineries are along the Gulf of Mexico) and pharmaceutical production, the production of tires (Akron in Ohio), paper, cigarettes, etc. are characterized by a large concentration in a few large enterprises, or companies. An important woodworking industry is concentrated in the states of Washington and Oregon,
The USA accounts for less than 15% of the world’s foreign trade turnover, while imports have long been outstripping increasingly less competitive exports. Currently, there is an increased focus on the Pacific region, especially Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and in the future, China as well. The most important partner became Japan, which also surpassed Canada as an importer of American goods. To strengthen traditional ties, a free trade agreement (NAFTA) was signed with Canada in 1989 and with Mexico in 1992. However, its critics argue that the number of jobs in the US will decrease if part of the production is moved to Mexico due to cheap labor.
More than half of US exports are engineering products, especially transportation equipment, metal products, and electronics. Imports of fuels and raw materials exceed their exports by about five times.
Trade and finance are an important pillar of the US economy, and their importance continues to grow. As the largest source of capital, foreign investment and aid, the USA can exert its influence almost all over the world. Canada in particular, as well as all of Latin America, is heavily dependent on US investment.
Tourism is a significant source of income for the US, but the domestic one is more important. The number of foreign visitors is lower than in the case of France, and the income from foreign tourism is lower than the spending of American travelers. The importance of services is growing more and more. Cities like Washington, DC, Denver, Colorado or Miami, Florida get almost all of their revenue from them. Suburban department stores and shopping malls have changed consumer habits and are fueling migration from urban centers to the outskirts of cities.