The city’s development has been closely associated with the development of industrial production. The key branch of industry which made use of the city’s location was the chemical industry. The establishment of the first factory dates back to 1808. The year of the establishment of Spolchemie (originally “the Austrian Society for Chemical and Metallurgical Production”), 1856, was a watershed in the development of the chemical industry in Austro-Hungary. Setuza became the most significant company in the food industry. Johann Schicht transferred soap production here in 1882 and in doing so laid the foundations for the subsequent fat processing plant. In its day, it was one of the largest of its type in the world. Energy generation also has a long tradition. Lignite was mined at Skřivánek from as early as 1760. In 1840, 6 shafts were in operation “directly in Ústí”.
The city power station started operation in 1899 (it closed in 1969). After 1945, quarries were gradually opened up to the northwest of the city and in 1976 in the western environs of the city. As a consequence of this development, however, a number of municipalities and settlements had to be eliminated (for example, Tuchomyšl, Vyklice and Hrbovice). The current production program undertaken by the companies of Ústí is very wide-ranging and some products are unique to the local industry. They include, for example, organic and inorganic chemicals, paints and synthetic resins from Spolchemie. The largest fat producer in the country is Setuza in Střekov. Beer production also has a centuries-long tradition in Krásné Březno.
The first mention of the existence of a settlement in the area of Ústí nad Labem is associated with transport; Elbe customs duties were collected here in 993. Ship transport on the Elbe is older than the city itself and it is one of significant factors for the local settlement. The essential development of transport in the entire area is mainly associated with lignite mining. Railway transport was added to the original river route in 1854 - 1874 and this was subsequently also followed by road transport.
In its day, Ústí nad Labem had the second longest tram network of all Czech towns and cities (after Prague). In 1938, the city had 112 vehicles in operation on 9 routes. The lines were gradually closed down from 1954 onwards and the last tram set off on 31st January 1970. Once the tram transport had been eliminated, public transport was provided exclusively in buses and later in combination with trolley buses.
The City of Ústí nad Labem, the centre of a region of the same name, is one of the largest and most significant centres in northern Bohemia and it offers a comprehensive range of services. The structure of the offered services is influenced by the wider environs, not only within the framework of the city’s own district, but also that of the surrounding districts.
Services such as those offered by shopping centres and supermarkets, which provide a wide range of good quality and affordable goods not only to the inhabitants of Ústí, but also to the inhabitants of the surrounding towns and from neighbouring Saxony, are of a very high quality. Financial institutions (banks, savings banks) are also of significance. The development of the hospitality industry (restaurants and wine bars) can also be rated positively.