The economy largely depends on agriculture. Hoshangabad is one of the largest producer of Soya Bean. The land is quite fertile and farmers have good canal irrigation facilities from the Tawa reservoir throughout the year. The farmers employ rotation of crops and their major income depends on soya bean and wheat.

The city has traditional way of living with many engaged in occupations enough for sustaining life. The city has abundant availability of water. Hoshangabad has high income per capita amongst cities of Madhya Pradesh.
In Hoshangabad town, there is only one industrial establishment: the Security Papers Mill Hoshangabad, a unit of Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. The main trade in the district are handicraft, silk, leather, pulses etc. Other than these, the main business deals in the delivering of sand and tiles which come from river Narmada.
Itarsi is the industrial and business center of the region. There is an ordnance factory functioning under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence. The Itarsi Mandi is the major agricultural trading center in the district, there are four others. Itarsi Junction is one of the busiest junctions of the Indian Railways. Being centrally located, it falls on the routes joining the metropolitan cities. Itarsi also has the Diesel and Electric Locomotive sheds.
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