Birmingham - Economy

Economy

With a city GDP of $90bn (2008 est., PPP), the urban agglomeration around Birmingham has the second-largest economy in the United Kingdom and the 72nd-largest in the world. Although the city grew to prominence as a manufacturing and engineering centre, its economy today is dominated by the service sector, which in 2008 accounted for 86% of its employment. Birmingham is the largest centre for employment in public administration, education and health in Great Britain, and after Leeds and Glasgow it is the third-largest centre for employment in banking, finance and insurance outside London. It is ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.

Two of Britain's largest banks were founded in Birmingham – Lloyds Bank (now Lloyds Banking Group) in 1765 and the Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank) in 1836 – as well as Ketley's Building Society, the world's first building society, in 1775. In 2010, Cushman & Wakefield stated that Birmingham was the third best place in the United Kingdom to locate a business and the 18th best in Europe.

Tourism is also an increasingly important part of the local economy. With major facilities such as the International Convention Centre and National Exhibition Centre the Birmingham area accounts for 42% of the UK conference and exhibition trade. The city's sporting and cultural venues attract large numbers of visitors.

With an annual turnover of £2.43bn, Birmingham city centre is the UK's third largest retail centre, with the country's busiest shopping centre – the Bullring – and the largest department store outside London – House of Fraser on Corporation Street. The City also has one of only four Selfridges department stores and the second largest branch of Debenhams in the country. In 2004 the city was ranked as the third best place to shop in the United Kingdom, behind the West End of London and Glasgow, being described as a "world-class shopping centre".

Manufacturing accounts for 10% of employment in Birmingham, a figure below the average for Great Britain as a whole. Despite the decline of manufacturing in the city several significant industrial plants remain, including Jaguar Land Rover in Castle Bromwich and Solihull and Cadbury Trebor Bassett in Bournville. Jewellery manufacture is still prominent in Birmingham with an estimated 40% of all UK produced jewellery being manufactured in the Jewellery Quarter.

Although the city has seen economic growth greater than the national average in the 21st century the benefits have been uneven, with commuters from the surrounding area obtaining many of the more skilled jobs. The two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rates in the UK – Ladywood and Sparkbrook and Small Heath – are both in inner-city Birmingham. Growth has also added to stresses on the city's transport. Many major roads and the central New Street railway station operate over capacity at peak times. In 2011 it was announced that Birmingham will become an enterprise zone, which will help small businesses in the region to increase economic growth.

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Famous quotes containing the word economy:

    The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get “a good job,” but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is bent on expression. The tell-tale body is all tongues. Men are like Geneva watches with crystal faces which expose the whole movement.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Quidquid luce fuit tenebris agit: but also the other way around. What we experience in dreams, so long as we experience it frequently, is in the end just as much a part of the total economy of our soul as anything we “really” experience: because of it we are richer or poorer, are sensitive to one need more or less, and are eventually guided a little by our dream-habits in broad daylight and even in the most cheerful moments occupying our waking spirit.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)