The Mexican economy is primarily a service economy to the extent that 66 percent of GDP and over 50 percent of employment in 1999 was accounted for by the services sector. Much of the decline in agricultural employment over the past 60 years has been picked up by the services sector. Hospitality, personal, and professional services account for most of the services that are performed within the economy.
The manufacturing sector is the next most important sector with 20.8 percent of GDP and approximately 17 percent of the labor force in 1999. The notable activity in this sector has to do with the success of the maquiladora plants in Mexico. Maquiladora plants are plants that exist along the Mexican-American border that receive inputs from American plants and produce items that can be exported or sold within Mexico. It has been estimated that these plants generated 49 percent of Mexico's manufacturing output in 1999.
The third-most important sector in Mexico is agriculture, which accounted for 5 percent of GDP in 1999 yet employed 23 percent of the labor force. As discussed previously, the industrialization of the Mexican economy has resulted in a decrease in the importance of this sector since 1940. However, the sector continues to provide employment for a significant portion of the Mexican labor force.
Mining makes up a small portion of the economic output of the country, accounting for only 1.2 percent of GDP and employing approximately 0.3 percent of the labor force in 1999. The great significance of this sector stems from the government's reliance on revenues from the country's oil company for a substantial portion of its revenue.