The early provincial economy was based on agriculture, with manufacturing and transportation later becoming vital sectors. Manitoba's economy has become very diversified, with the services sector the most important. Manitoba's central location makes it an attractive base for a wide variety of services, particularly in transportation and wholesale distribution.
Agriculture is the backbone of rural Manitoba and its infrastructure in towns and cities. Wheat is the most important crop, with barley and canola close behind. Manitoba is also the leading Canadian producer of flaxseed, sunflower seeds, buckwheat and field peas.
Other important industries include manufacturing, mining, textiles as well as printing and publishing. Manufacturing is the largest goods-producing economic sector, with particular strength in food and transportation equipment. Other important sectors are primary and fabricated metals, electrical goods, clothing and textiles, as well as printing and publishing.
Mining is important to Manitoba's economy, with metals normally accounting for three-quarters of the value of production. The most important metals are nickel, copper and zinc, with significant production of oil & gas and a number of industrial minerals.