Country Durham has always been a vital part of the British economy.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming a cornerstone of coal and iron production, developing the worlds first passenger steam railway at Darlington as well as becoming an agricultural heartland.
Modernisation has forced Durham to adapt, with the traditional strengths of shipbuilding, mining and farming making way for growth in retail, tourism and manufacturing. That change of approach means County Durhams economy is now home to around 506,000 people of whom just over 220,000 are in employment.
The area has over 15,000 businesses and approaching 170,000 employees. Overall, the annual value of economic output is around £6.3bn and the employment rate is 64.5%.
Recruitment agencies are most likely to place staff in employment in the largest centres of Durham and Darlington. The public sector accounts for around 45% of employment in Durham, reflecting the presence of the university, major hospitals and Durham County Councils headquarters.
However, 24% of employment in the region is in the manufacturing sector, with a significant proportion of this in car production. Unemployment in the region is 4.8%, which, while lower than average for the north east of England, is higher than the average figure across the UK. The average weekly pay in the region comes in below £500, which is also below the national average.