Economy of Birmingham
|This article is outdated. (August 2010)|
The city of Birmingham, in England, is an important manufacturing and engineering centre, employing over 100,000 people in the industry and contributing billions to the national economy. During 2005, the West Midlands region as a whole created UK exports worth £15.2 billion, around 7.1% of the national total. Output was forecast to grow from 2007 to 2012, but the city's economy flat-lined in from 2007 to 2009 following the economic crisis which affected the economies of countries around the world.
Although Birmingham has seen strong economic growth overall in recent years, with per capita GDP rising from 2% above the UK average in 1995 to 7% above in 2003, the benefits have not been felt evenly throughout the city. Many of the higher skilled jobs generated have gone to commuters from the surrounding area, and 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 placed significant strain on the city's transport infrastructure, with many major roads and the central New Street railway station operating considerably over capacity during peak periods.
In 2010, Birmingham was ranked as the 52nd-most livable city in the world and the second most livable in the UK, according to the Mercer Index of worldwide standards of living. Birmingham was also one of the founding cities for the Eurocities group and is also sitting as chair. Birmingham has the second-largest city economy in the UK, and was ranked 72nd in the world in 2008.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Birmingham at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added4||Agriculture1||Industry2||Services3|
^1 includes hunting and forestry
^2 includes energy and construction
^3 includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
^4 Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
Today the city's products include: motor vehicles, vehicle components and accessories, weapons, electrical equipment, plastics, machine tools, chemicals, food, jewellery and glass. Birmingham is home to two major car factories, MG Rover in Longbridge and Jaguar in Castle Bromwich (and Land Rovers are manufactured in neighbouring Solihull).
The Jewellery Quarter is the largest concentration of dedicated jewellers in Europe. One third of the jewellery manufactured in the UK is made within one mile of Birmingham city centre. Until 2003, coins for circulation were manufactured in the Jewellery Quarter at the Birmingham Mint, the oldest independent mint in the world, which continues to produce commemorative coins and medals.
From manufacturing to service and research
As with most of the British economy, manufacturing in Birmingham has declined in importance since the 1970s, and it now employs a minority of the workforce. In recent years Birmingham's economy has diversified into service industries, retailing and tourism, which are now the main employers in the city. There are problems when labour skills do not match available job vacancies. Jobs in the service and tourist sectors are estimated to rise by 50,000 over the next ten years.
Birmingham is home to one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, the Bullring. It is also the busiest in the UK attracting 36.5 million visitors in its first year. Birmingham is the most visited retail destination outside London and the retail sector makes up a large proportion of the city's economy.
The city centre currently has four major shopping centres; Bullring, The Mailbox, The Pavilions and The Pallasades, as well as a number of smaller arcades and precincts and four department stores; Selfridges, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols with John Lewis opening its biggest store outside London in the cities New Street station development in 2014.
The cities designer and high end fashion stores are mostly situated in the up-market Mailbox shopping centre, around the Colmore Row financial district although the Bullring has seen an influx of designer brands such as Hugo Boss, Thomas Sabo, Radley and Armani Exchange.
The city centre also has four markets; The Bullring indoor market, The Birmingham rag market, St Martins outdoor market and the Oasis clothes market.
With major facilities such as the International Convention Centre, the National Exhibition Centre and the Symphony Hall 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.
Research at Birmingham
Research at the University of Birmingham, both theoretical and practical has contributed to the success of the city and the West Midlands region and had worldwide impact for more than a century. Now the University ranks fifth in the country. Scientific research including research into the controversial nano technology at the University of Birmingham, is expanding in the city and will possibly play a part in the city's economic future.
Banking, insurance and law
Birmingham has over 500 law firms, and has a number of insurance companies. The city attracts over 40% of the UK's total conference trade. Two of Britain's "big four" banks were founded in Birmingham: Lloyds Bank (now Lloyds Banking Group) was established in the city in 1765 and The Midland Bank (now HSBC Bank plc) opened in Union Street, in August 1836.
Birmingham has a large incineration plant, the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant which produces electricity for the National Grid through the process of burning waste. It was built in 1996 by Veolia.
Famous brands from the "city of a thousand trades" include Bird's Custard, Typhoo Tea, the Birmingham Wire Gauge, Brylcreem, Chad Valley Toys, BSA, Bakelite, Cadburys chocolate, HP Sauce, Epsc and the MG Rover Group; although no Rover cars are set to be produced in the future, with Nanjing Automobile Group to focus on the MG cars.
- UK Trade Info: Regional Trade Statistics
- "Business And Economy". Birmingham Economy. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- Walker, Jonathan (15 December 2011). "West Midlands economy is flatlining - report". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- "NUTS3 Gross Value Added (GVA) (1995–2003) Tables" (xls). Office for National Statistics.
Data on sheet NUTS33, line 102
- "Local area labour markets: statistical indicators - Parliamentary Constituency tables (Unemployment Rate January 2005 to December 2005)" (xls). Office for National Statistics.
- "Quality of Living worldwide city rankings 2010 – Mercer survey". Mercer. 26 May 2010.
- "NEC Group - Conference City". Locate Birmingham.
- "Research at Birmingham". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Energy Recovery". Veolia Environmental Services.