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Home of several business enterprises, banking institutions, educational entities, as well as manufacturing companies, the City of Santiago is considered the Commercial and Trading Center of Cagayan Valley and tagged as the Investment Hub of the North.

Robinsons Land Corporation has recently launched Robinsons Place Santiago as its pioneer mall in Cagayan Valley. Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. entered Cagayan Valley by building Camella Isabela. It has recently launched another project named as Camella Santiago. The head-office of Grupo Marilens, the largest homegrown corporation in the region, is in Santiago City. Three of the biggest TV networks in the country (i.e.ABS-CBN, GMA7, TV5) stationed their regional networks in the city. San Miguel Corp., Pepsi Cola, Purefoods,Digitel and PLDT also operate in the city while different car companies abound(i.e. Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki, Hyundai, KIA, Ford,Chevrolet, Peugeot, Foton and other car companies as well as Yamaha and Honda Motors). The National Food Authority competes with local traders to stabilize prices.

Santiago City houses some of the biggest hospitals in the region. The University of La Salette Hospital is said to be the biggest having a capacity of at least 350 beds. De Vera's Medical Center, Callang General Hospital and Medical Center and Santiago Adventist Hospital are also equally equipped private hospitals. The Southern Isabela General Hospital and Flores Memorial Hospital are now considered medical centers.

Despite rapid industrialization, agriculture is still the untoppled source of livelihood. The main crops are rice, corn, high value fruits and vegetables. The city is where imposing grain stations can be found. Rice mills abound. It is the pivotal place for crops where harvests from Ifugao, Kalinga, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, and parts of Isabela are transported either to Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pangasinan or Batangas. In addition to the city's product is muscovado sugar which the local government has been promoting for export.

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