Economy

With a city GDP of $90bn (2008 est., PPP), Birmingham has the second-largest urban 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 gamma- 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[68] and the Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank) in 1836[69] – 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.

The city's three Universities, (Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University) and two University colleges have over 65,000 students and employ around 15,000 staff, making a significant contribution to the city's economy as well as its research and innovation base.
The Jaguar XF, made by Jaguar Cars at Castle Bromwich Assembly

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 Cars in Castle Bromwich and Cadbury Trebor Bassett in Bournville.

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.

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