During the provincial era, shipbuilding was New Hampshire's major industry. By 1870, cotton and woolen mills, concentrated in the southeast, employed about one-third of the labor force and accounted for roughly half the value of all manufactures.
The value of shipments by manufacturers in 1997 was $20 billion, exhibiting a growth of 79% from 1992 (4th in the nation in terms of growth). As of 1997, there was one Fortune 500 company headquartered in New Hampshire, Tyco International.
Earnings of persons employed in New Hampshire increased from $21.4 billion in 1997 to $23.2 billion in 1998, an increase of 8.2%. The largest industries in 1998 were services, 27.6% of earnings; durable goods manufacturing, 16.6%; and retail trade, 11.6%. Of the industries that accounted for at least 5% of earnings in 1998, the slowest growing from 1997 to 1998 was state and local government (9.2% of earnings in 1998), which increased 4.4%; the fastest was wholesale trade (7.0% of earnings in 1998), which increased 13.4%.