The economy of Sambalpur District is dependent on agriculture and forestry. Forests play a vital role in the economy in terms of contribution to revenue and most people are dependent on it for their livelihood. As per historians, Sambalpur was a great centre of the diamond trade in the past. A special leaf called, Kendu (କେନ୍ଦୁ) Leaf (in local language) (Diospyros Melanoxylon) is produced greatly in Sambalpur. And this leaf is one of the most important non-wood forest products of this area and is called ‘Green Gold of Odisha..
But, gradually Industrialisation(ଶିଳ୍ପାୟନ) has started in the district with prime industries like Power, Alumina, and Steel etc. This place is famous for its globally renowned textiles bounded patterns and fabrics locally known as Baandha
Sambalpur is famous for its Hand-loom textile works, popularly known as Sambalpuri Textiles (ସମ୍ବଲପୁରୀ ଟେକ୍ସଟାଇଲ୍). It has earned international fame for its unique pattern, design and texture. Apart from textiles, Sambalpur has a rich tribal(ଆଦିବାସୀ) heritage and fabulous forestlands. The important crops grown in this area are Rice, gram, tuar, arhar, sesame, groundnut, mustard, castor, linseed etc. And, Sugarcane is the most important cash crop grown in this region.