Guimarães makes its livelihood primarily in textiles, (a secondary economic sector in Portugal) with 70% of local companies working in this industry. Metallurgy is also represented, as well as the cutlery industry; some of the country’s most well-known brands are headquartered in the Guimarães district. The tanning and leather trades, which were pioneered here in the 19th century, are still active in some localities.
In the last decade, companies in the tertiary sector of the economy have grown, most notably those in business consultancy. The banking and tourism sectors have also grown, and institutions of higher learning have also been founded. Agriculture, a primary economic sector nationally, is important in only the north of the District, which has a small population.