Since the late 1980s, manufacturing, mining, transport, construction, and agriculture have been declining in Bulgaria, while the service sector has been growing, particularly in retail business and finance. Energy, communications, and tourism have also become high-profile if turbulent industries. The World Factbook estimated that by 2000 agriculture accounted for 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), industry 29 percent, and services 56 percent. Estimates for the division of the labor force were from 1998, when 26 percent of the labor force was employed by the agriculture sector, 31 percent by the industry sector, and 43 percent by the services sector.
Much of Bulgaria's earlier economic strength lay in heavy industry powered, until the early 1990s, by subsidized energy from the Soviet Union. With the collapse of centrally planned Eastern European economies, manufacturing suffered a downturn. Major state-owned chemical, oil-refining, and metallurgical plants were targeted for privatization and examined to determine whether they could compete effectively in international markets. The largest privatization deal in heavy industry was the sale of the Sodi Devnia chemical plant to the Belgian company, Solvey, in 1999 for $160 million. Many other major assets, including oil refineries and
Food processing, textiles and apparel, and other consumer goods manufacturers have performed comparatively better, often attracting investment from renowned companies such as Kraft Jacobs Suchard or Danone. Future growth looks probable in light industry, led by electronics, textiles, and food processing. A small percentage of new private companies are involved in manufacturing. Private sector growth is greatest in the construction and food industries, maintenance and repair of electronic tools and equipment, household appliances, and automobiles.