Planetary management consists of managing a colonies resources to grow larger, meet it's own needs, and build the supplies you need. It is broken down into several sectors which provide different things for the planet your for your use. The sectors are broken out below.
The first thing every colony needs is food, which is provided by agriculture or the more advanced hydroponics. Typically a planet requires approximately 3.35% of its colonists in agriculture. However, that number will start to rise as the ratio of troops to civilians increases. Once a colony advances, it may be desired to use hydroponics instead of agriculture. Hydroponics is for efficient, but has some penalties. Agriculture does not have a trained capacity, so any civilian will happily work in agriculture. Hydroponics, however, is a specialized field which requires engineering efforts to build jobs, and during the conversion, there will be come civilian starvation. The end result of hydroponics is approximately a 66% reduction in workforce compared to agriculture, which can instead by placed in other sectors.
Once food is taken care for the population, you will need metal to grow your sectors and maintain the basic economy on the planet. In early stages, you have a loan to repay to the empire for setting up the starting sector jobs, so you will need to keep mining efforts slightly higher in the first stage of planetary management until the loan is repaid to the empire. As a fallback, mining can employ more workers than its capacity, however, as it does this, it becomes less efficient and provides less output per worker.
Once you have a positive food and metal supply, you can start building new jobs to keep up with your growth, which is where engineering begins. Engineering determines how fast you can build new jobs in each division that needs its sector built. You can spread the engineering efforts between each sector using the Engineering Assignment category in the labor management screen.
Ship yards are the most expensive endeavor but are the heart and soul of the strategy of the game. You can choose to build offense, defense, higher classed ships, or nothing at all if growth is your priority. Once shipyards are activated, you can control the percentage priority of the goods it produces in the Ship Building Labor menu. For building ships, you can learn more about the different ship classes on the Ship Classes page.
Every players is provided free basic ships at the imperial bases, usually scout ships, that come with free arms, however once building more advanced ship classes, you must supply your own arms. The armaments sector allows you to build probes, missiles, and torpedoes.
Services have two purposes. The first purpose, which is optional is to produce metal by selling the consumer goods it outputs. This may be preferred on planets with low metal ratings, as the sale of consumer goods may outweigh the cost of having to maintain a mining capacity for less output. The second purpose is to raise the standard of living, which is essential for a high planetary score. This purpose is generally only exercised towards the end of a war, as it has no benefits early in the war.
Housing is the fallback for all citizens not assigned to another industry. The more people that are working in housing the more new houses that will be constructed, which allows you to better expand your building capabilities.
Bureaucrats are the necessary evil that must exist to ensure the economy on the planet is maintained. This is usually set to a static 10%.
If you apply too many workers to a position where there is not enough capacity, the overflow will end up unemployed. Unemployed citizens cost more metal and cause cause riots in extreme measures. You want to avoid unemployment as much as possible.
Operations is where you control things that are independent of the different sectors. These include:
Commodities are the output of the services, mining, and armament divisions. Some items you will want to stock up for yourself, other items you will want to keep stock low to sell excess for profit.
*Note: If you have a trade surplus greater than 0, the limit you set is what is available to you. The trade surplus number is what additional will be built to be supplied to your teammates. If you set a limit to 50 with a trade surplus of 200%, your planet will build 50 accessible for you, then 100 more (200% of your level) available to your team.
With your shipyard, you can build guns to defend your planet, fighters to attack your opponents' planets, or ships to aid combat and planetary attacks. You can assign a percentage of your shipyard's production to each shipyard item in the Shipyard Labor screen.
If you apply too many citizens to a sector with limited capacity, they have enough training to work in a lesser sector, provided the sector is active. The overflow chain is:
Excess users in Shipyards will work in any of the departments below it, provided they are active. Overflow only trickles down, it does not go in the other direction, so over capacity engineering will not shift workers to the shipyard.