Plantation agriculture flourished in Louisiana in the 18th century. Planters first experimented with indigo and tobacco, but these were soon replaced by cotton in the north and sugarcane in the subtropical south. In the late 19th century a lumber industry boom occurred, while the discovery of petroleum and natural gas in the early 20th century added other dimensions to the economy. In the second half of the 20th century industry expanded rapidly, fueled in part by the development of offshore oil fields. Louisiana remains an important agricultural state, but manufacturing, mining, tourism, and commerce now dominate the economy. In terms of employment, services and wholesale and retail trade are the leading economic activities in Louisiana.
However, as a source of income, manufacturing and mining, particularly the extraction of petroleum and natural gas, is most important. The income generated by industries is slightly more than the value of the minerals extracted in the state. Less than one-fourth as many people work on Louisiana’s farms as work in its industries, and the income from farming is much less than the value of mineral production or the income generated by industries and other economic activities. However, agriculture provides essential raw materials for industries, as do mining, fishing, and lumbering.
Louisiana had a work force of 1,983,000 in 2008. The largest share of them, 38 percent, were employed in the services sector, doing such jobs as working in hospitals or restaurants. Another 20 percent worked in wholesale or retail trade;
19 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 8 percent in manufacturing; 7 percent in construction; 20 percent in transportation or public utilities; 15 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), fishing, or forestry; and 3 percent in mining. In 2007, 6 percent of Louisiana’s workers were members of a labor union. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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