Delaware is a small but prosperous state, the economy of which benefits from the large urban markets nearby. During much of the 19th and 20th centuries, manufacturing was the state’s leading economic activity. In the late 1990s, however, the finance sector provided the greatest share of the state’s economy, with many people employed in commerce, service industries, or government agencies as well. Partly because of Delaware’s relatively lenient corporate-tax laws, many businesses are incorporated in the state even though virtually all their activities are carried on elsewhere.
Delaware’s labor force totaled 422,000 in 2008. The largest share of the labor force, 34 percent, worked in the diverse service sector, doing jobs such as working in restaurants or computer programming.
Another 17 percent were employed in wholesale or retail trade; 14 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 13 percent in manufacturing; 24 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 6 percent in construction; and 19 percent in transportation or public utilities. Employment in mining and agriculture was insignificant. In 2007, 12 percent of Delaware’s workers were unionized.
In 2008 there were 2,500 farms in Delaware. Many were sidelines for operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 202,343 hectares (500,000 acres).
Some 85 percent of the farmland was used to raise crops, with the remainder split between pasture and woodlots. The sale of livestock and livestock products accounted for 81 percent of total farm income in 2006. Poultry and eggs are the most valuable farm products and contribute nine-tenths of the total value of livestock sales.
Broilers, which are young chickens raised for meat, are the most valuable farm product. They are raised in large numbers on specialized farms in Sussex and Kent counties. Eggs and turkeys are also produced on some poultry farms.
Dairy farms are numerous in northern sections of the state and are a major source of fresh milk for Wilmington, Philadelphia, and other large cities in the East. Hogs and beef cattle, which are fed partly on surplus milk and milk wastes, are also raised. Field crops provide 19 percent of all farm income. Soybeans and corn are grown throughout the state, and represent the leading crops in terms of sales. Wheat is raised on many farms in northern and central Delaware.
Potatoes are a specialty crop on farms in southern Delaware, and together with peas are the most valuable vegetable crops. In addition, a variety of truck and fruit crops are produced in the state. Peaches, once the chief crop of the state, are an important orchard crop. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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