Perhaps best known for its prestigious universities, Oxfordshire's economy is dominated by education and public sector jobs. Most in the region are employed in large organisations - both public and private - and the Oxfordshire County Council has a staff of more than 18,000. BMW (with its large factory in Cowley), Blackwell Publishing, and the University of Oxford are also top employers in the area. Because Oxford is the 6th most visited city in the UK, tourism plays a major role in the local economy, generating about £270 million annually for Oxford businesses and creating many jobs.
Nearly half of all employees here hold managerial, technical, or professional positions; while skilled trade and administrative staff account for about 21% of the workforce; and 17% are employed in sales or service industry roles. Seven of Oxfordshire's top ten employers are based in Oxford, and the city employs 35% of the county's workforce about a third of whom commute from elsewhere. But while Oxford enjoys a relatively low 2.8% unemployment rate, other parts of the county are not so fortunate. Since 2008, Oxfordshire's unemployment rates have nearly doubled. As the UK climbs out of this recent recession, however, recruitment agencies anticipate that growth in Oxfordshire's private sector will bring new jobs to the region.