Your economy happens in the background. You can choose to automanage/autosubsidy everything and just focus on tactical battles and campaigns if you wish. But for those who want to get involved manually in any manner- here you go.
Your economy is a compilation of all your buildings and farms and everything that is needed to make an army, navy, and have a populace. Food, water, iron, weapons and ammo production, even livestock production, all matters. You have buildings that you can build and/or upgrade and each one has a particular reason for existence. You can mouse over the economic indicator tab at the top (usually near the invasions tab) and a pop up cloud will show you what is needed (ex: we need 50K tons gunpowder but only enough factories for 30K tons)
You have regular buildings, which you can just start anywhere. These are private buildings, such as a group starting a factory or a family starting a farm.
- Farms– required to grow food, livestock, and horses. Basic farm, imagine the farms at Gettysburg or Antietam. Build them anywhere that there is grass.
- Brickworks– required to make bricks. These are necessary for forts and houses and things.
- Foundries– these are required to make iron/bronze, which is further required to make artillery and weapons and ironclads. Build them near the other things that you want to produce, such as forts or depots for ships/arms respectively
- Ironworks– they take the iron/bronze made from foundries and turn them into weapons or ammo or ships. Build these near major ports or major cities with arms factories.
- Lumber mills- created cut wood, for building
- Factories– factories can be for anything, from canned food to cloth for uniforms.
- Flour mills– for bread. Bread was prime food in those days. Build them near farms and metro areas.
- Plantations– southern massive farm for a cash crop, such as soybeans or sugar or cotton. Requires some slaves
- Saltworks– used to create salt for food preservation. Try to build them near oceans
You need all levels of buildings to have an effective economy. For example, if you want to build artillery, and you have plenty of ironworks, but minimal foundries near the ironworks, then you won’t be able to build much artillery, OR it will be delayed, because a critical aspect of the process is missing.
There are also federal buildings, or regional/state buildings
- Hospitals – self explanatory. the injured from battle go here.
- Market – this is a collection area for the food from all the farms in the region. Buiid them near metro areas
- Newspapers – help for the propaganda/diplomacy fight
- Prison camps – you can send captured soldiers from battlefields here. Also, beware because if the prison camps become overcrowded (you can mouse over it and see) your reputation will go down a little like it did when people heard about Andersonville or Camp Douglas
- Military School – imagine West Point or VMI. In game, the US has west point, the CS has VMI/Citadel. Having military schools means that any officer from that state that you enlist after the school is complete will have experience added to him due to that.
Finally, there are subsidies. You can go to the economy tab and alter your subsidies with a sliding bar based on which aspects you wish to put more money into. More money into a certain subsidy means more activity. For example, if you raise the subsidy of MILITARY to HIGH, eventually you will get more funds for certain policies, like producing spencer rifles or buying international guns. You can mix and match as you wish, or automanage it all.