The development of the city is closely connected with the development of indus-trial production. The key sector that made use of the city's position was the che-mical industry. The construction of the first production plant dates back to 1808. The year 1856 in which Spolchemie (originally "Austrian Union for Chemical and Metallurgical Production") was set up is a turning point of the development of chemical production in the Austrian-Hungarian empire.
The most important food production plant is Setuza. In 1882 Johann Schicht transferred the production of soap to the city which marked the beginning of the fat processing factory. At his time the plant belonged to the biggest of its kind in the world.
The production of energy has also a long tradition in Usti. Lignit was mined in the Na skrivanku location since 1760. In 1840 six mine galleries were in operation in the city itself. The city power plant started operation in 1899 (shut down in 1969). After 1945 mines were gradually opened in the northwestern and in 1976 in the western directions of the city. Many villages and communities were liquidated to give way to coal mining (e.g. Tuchomysl, Vyklice and Hrbovice).
Today the production programs of Usti companies are quite diversified, some products are specific for the local industrial production. This is the case of organic and anorganic chemicals, dyes and synthetic resins produced by Spolchemie. The biggest fat producer in the country is "Setuza" seated in Strekov. Beer production in Krasne Brezno has a tradition of more than one hundred years.
The first historical reference of the local settlement is connected with trans-portation in the area of Usti nad Labem—in 993 Elbe duty was collected here. Elbe navigation is older than the city itself and belongs to important factors of its localization.
A considerable development of transportation and of the whole region was connected with lignite mining. The traditional river transportation was enhanced by railway (1854-1874) and later road transportation. Usti nad Labem had once the second longest tramway network (second to Prague) in Bohemia. In 1938 Usti operated 112 trams on 9 operational lines. Since 1954 lines were gradually put out of operation. The last tramway ran the streets on January 31, 1970. After the tramway traffic was liquidated transportation was provided by buses, later combined with trolley buses.
The city of Usti nad Labem, a center of a district of the same name, belongs to the biggest and most important centers of northern Bohemia offering a complete range of products of the service sector. The city back areas and the structure of servi-ces has impact on the whole region, and not only on the district as such but also on the neighboring districts.
The services of large shopping centers and supermarkets are of high quality providing a wide assortment of quality products at competitive prices not only for the inhabitants of Usti but also for the inhabitants of neighboring districts and the Saxony border area. Financial institutions (banks and saving banks) represent an important factor of the service sector. Highly valued are also the services of restaurants and wine houses.