The five most profitable sectors in the US

Financial district
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

8 May 2017

Accounting services have been revealed as the most profitable industry in the US, according to company financial statements for 2016.

The annual ranking, released by financial information company Sageworks, pointed to accounting firms, law firms and real estate lessors as particularly well-performing business sectors.

All three industries reported net profit margins in excess of 17%, well above the private company average of 7.7%.

Companies in the medical and healthcare sectors also had a high level of performance associated with outpatient care, dentists, diagnostic laboratories and physicians - all had double-figure results.

In addition, businesses related to real estate and associated services published high levels of profitability.

Pointing out that many of the industries with high returns are service providers, Sageworks Analyst James Noe said: “Some businesses tend to have healthier bottom lines by the very nature of the industries that they operate in.

“They don’t sell or produce finished goods. They don’t make the tractors to sell to farmers or they don’t buy groceries to sell to consumers. In other words, you don’t need plastic to provide an audit for a company; it’s just mostly human capital that’s being utilised, and that lends to a high margin generally.”

The most profitable US industries in 2016

Data source: Sageworks


  • Business
  • North America

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