The US is a vast country filled with states that all have their own geographic traits and bustling industries. It’s interesting to see just how different two states within the same country can be. While places like New York and California have international fame, there are many lesser-known states with their own culture. Here we will take a look at some of these less-famous states and review their most important industries.



The vast natural deposits of minerals and precious metals are what helped establish Nevada as a state over 150 years ago, and even today it remains one of the main industries for the region. Throughout the state, you’ll find rich deposits of gold, silver, lithium, iron, limestone, and many other materials.

Today, there are more than 12,000 people directly employed by mining companies in rural areas but the actual number of people intertwined with this industry greatly exceeds this figure. There are countless other companies and complementary industries that provide goods and services to these mining organizations.

Tourism and Gaming

Of course, what would Nevada be without its world-famous center for tourism and gaming? Nevada is considered one of the best cities in the world for its live entertainment, 5-star hotels, and the countless casinos that dot the famous Las Vegas Strip. Many performers will regularly stay here for weeks or months at a time, playing to packed houses every night.

While the entertainment is world-class, gaming is what this city was built on and is what keeps tourists coming back. Las Vegas has set a precedent for live gaming and the economy that surrounds it. Over the years, the city has established itself as the biggest gaming hub in the world.

The gaming industry in Las Vegas has also done a spectacular job at keeping up with current trends and emerging technology. When online sportsbooks and gaming websites first launched, companies in Nevada were some of the first to jump on this trend. They then gradually built on top of these platforms and soon became a global leader in the online gaming industry. Even today they continue to expand their offerings with mobile apps, exclusive promotions, and Nevada free bets for residents in the state. Las Vegas generates an average of $8 billion in gaming revenue every year.



The symbol of Maine is undoubtedly the lighthouse, hinting at the scenery and imagery that can be found around this state. Maine’s identity revolves around the ocean, as do it’s most important business sectors. This state is crucial in the US as a destination not only for commercial fishing but for the fisheries that farm cold-water species like salmon, trout, and especially lobster, which is the main focus of the industry. With both wild and farmed lobster considered, Maine accounts for nearly 80% of the total lobster market in the US, a massive $1.7 billion dollar industry.


Also unique in the area is the long and storied tradition of shipbuilding which dates back to the time of the first settlers in the state. Hundreds of years later and it is still an industry that is thriving in the area, though it has clearly changed many times. Instead of building massive wooden vessels with lumber pulled from the surrounding forests, now the state mainly focuses on steel ships. There are several naval yards located here that build ships, and others have large contracts with the US Navy that include taking care of the maintenance for their fleet. The shipbuilding industry in Maine employs tens of thousands of people.

West Virginia

Coal Mining

First and foremost, West Virginia will always have an identity as the biggest coal mining center in the US. Even as energy alternatives like electric and wind power become more common, the coal industry still manages to keep going here. Coal accounts for nearly 75% of all the mining done in the state, with natural gas being another 15-20%.

Over 50,000 people in West Virginia work directly or indirectly with the coal mining industry here. The legacy of the coal industry is deeply embedded into the fabric of society here, even to this day. Out of the 55 counties of West Virginia, 53 of them have coal deposits that have been mined.

Tennessee Automotive 


States like Ohio and Michigan have ties to the automotive industry that go back a century. However, the biggest state today for automotive manufacturing is Tennessee. Over 100,000 people are employed in this industry and GM, Volkswagen, and Nissan have manufacturing plants here. On average, a new vehicle is manufactured here every 20 seconds.

Of course, there are also auto parts manufacturers and suppliers here as well, like Hankook Tire and Bridgestone, that expand on this industry. Tennessee is keeping up with trends and looking towards the future. For example, they are one of only three or so states that have completely legalized autonomous driving.



Wyoming may be a state with only 500,000 residents, but it sees an average of over 6,000,000 tourists every year. After mining, this is the biggest industry in the state. Visitors love to flock to Wyoming to see examples of natural beauty and wildlife that sadly does not exist anywhere else in the US or the world for that matter.

National parks in Wyoming are some of the biggest draws, like Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone will welcome at least 4,000,000 people every year. Other visitors will come here to see the wild bison, cranes, bighorn sheep, and other wild animals. Tourism in Wyoming accounts for more than $2 billion in annual revenue and more than 15% of Wyoming’s total workforce.


Forestry and Lumber

Oregon is one of the “greenest” states in the US. Over 50% of the entire state is owned by the US government which preserves its vast forests for a number of purposes. Oregon has been the biggest lumber producer in the US for decades and with over 50% of the entire state being covered in these lush forests, that is not likely to change anytime soon. Over 60,000 people are said to be employed by the lumber industry here with the total revenue of the exports exceeding $1 billion annually.