France - Economic sectors
The French economy is competitive on a global scale in many goods and service sectors. In 1998, about 3.3 percent of the GDP was contributed by the agricultural sector, and 26.1 percent by the industry. But the major portion of the GDP is accounted for by the service sector, which makes France a typical modern industrialized country. While most employment is provided by this sector (about 66 percent), agriculture employs only 7 percent
The leading industries are metallurgy, mechanical and electrical engineering, chemicals, textiles, and the manufacturing of airplanes and automobiles. The auto producers, Renault and Citroen, are household names in many European countries. The French are very proud of Airbus Industrie, which is the main competitor of the Boeing Company, the leading U.S. aircraft producer. Airbus has captured a sizable portion of the commercial airplane market, a domain which had belonged exclusively to Boeing and its smaller U.S. and British competitors before the rise of Airbus in the 1970s. The world famous Mirage and Concorde are also produced by French aviation companies. The tragic July 2000 crash of a Concorde in France marred the otherwise superb reliability of Concorde airplanes, but in 2001 the sleek jet was scheduled to go back into service with Air France. France is not very rich in natural resources other than bauxite, but the country processes imported material into commercial products and resells them domestically and to the rest of the world.
France has a diverse and important services sector. Paris has the fifth largest stock market in the world. France's 4 banks rank among the biggest 25 banks in the world. The insurance industry ranks fifth in the world. France has been, for much of the last century, the world capital in fashion, setting the trends in designer clothes. Although there is a threat from countries with lower labor costs, French textile products are among the best in the world. Perfumes produced in France are synonymous with high fashion. Paris is known all over the world for its cultural attractions, architecture, and cosmopolitan lifestyle. That is why France is 1 of the 3 most-visited countries in the world, along with Spain and the United States.