Piemontese agriculture is characterized by smallhold peasant farms. Traditional crops centered on wheat production, and in the early twentieth century, farm mechanization and successful land-reclamation practices gave rise to markedly increased yields, compared to other agricultural regions in the nation. With the introduction of new techniques, old systems of land tenure (sharecropping and small-plot rentals) gave way to a method of agriculture involving limited-company ownership.
Manufacture was strongly established in the region by the final quarter of the 1800s, and it emphasized the production of silk, cotton, and wool. Other industry included mining, engineering and metals, ceramics, and glassmaking. In the early twentieth century, Italy's "breakthrough" into the then-revolutionary industry of auto manufacture was led by Fiat, founded in 1912 in Turin. This breakthrough led to the development of several subsidiary industries, including coach works, tire factories, and the manufacture of automotive parts. This development resulted in Piemonte becoming a major car-manufacturing center for Europe, and it established the region as a key element of the "industrial triangle" (demarked by Turin, Milan, and Genoa) wherein most Industrial development in twentieth-century Italy has taken place.
Unlike the women in the south, Piemontese women fully participate in economic life—there is no preferential social status accorded to women who do not work outside the home. In the agricultural areas of the region, women and men work side by side in the shared enterprise of farm production. In manufacturing, there is a certain association of women with particular industries—they are more strongly represented than men in textile production, for example.