Blackburn is located in Lancashire, on the northwest coast of Great Britain about 20 miles north of Manchester. Its economy was once supported by a bustling textile industry, and the area is widely known for wool and cotton weaving. But the past decades have seen the textile industry all but vanish in Blackburn, and the region is now home to the a 9.9% unemployment rate in 2012.
So in an effort to change this, a recent multi-million pound economic stimulus project is now underway. By bringing a much-needed renovation to Blackburn's historic Church Street, local officials hope to revive the business district and boost tourism.
Providing thousands of employment opportunities in administration, healthcare, and education, the public sector employs over one third of the city. Manufacturing - predominantly in the aerospace industry - is also a significant economic force in the area. It staffs 14,000 jobs and accounts for roughly 22% of the workforce. Service and retail jobs employ a further 20%, and the IT and Finance sectors have experienced substantial growth in recent years. Local recruitment agencies report that the top employers are Blackburn College, BAE Systems, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, and the East Lancashire Hospital NHS Trust. Lancashire's median annual income per household was about £31,000 in 2011.