The area where Cochabamba is situated is commonly referred to as the granary of Bolivia. Its climate is milder than that of the Altiplano region to the west and thus permits extensive agriculture, including grains, potatoes, and coffee in the highlands and sugar cane, cocoa beans, tobacco, and fruit in the Chapare tropical lowlands, an area that had been one of the country's main coca-leaf-producing regions.
Cochabamba is also the industrial hub of Bolivia, producing cars, cleaning products, cosmetics, chemicals, and other items like cement. The economy of Cochabamba is characterized by produce goods and services.
The airline Boliviana de Aviación has its headquarters in Cochabamba. The defunct airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB Airlines) had its management offices on the grounds of Jorge Wilstermann Airport in Cochabamba. In Cochabamba construction has being rapidly increasing in the last couple of year with more than 750 construction sites per year.
Cochabamba is one of the main hubs for cocaine dealers in South America. In June 2012 the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo gained access to intelligence reports that showed that cocaine cartels were the economic force behind condominiums and real estate as well as industries such as meat processing.