With a population exceeding a quarter million, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the largest and most diverse cultural centre in the North East between Scotland and Yorkshire. The city hosts a large working class population; and though its once massive manufacturing and coal-producing industry has declined significantly since the 1990s - along with the wider industry throughout the UK - automotive and defence manufacturing is still an important economic force. Dominated by industry giants including Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, and Vickers Defence Systems, the sector employs more than 16,000.
Yet the public sector is unquestionably the largest local employment provider, supporting about 37% of Newcastle's employees. Data released by local recruitment agencies indicates that the Newcastle City Council, the University of Newcastle, and the Newcastle General Infirmary are the region's largest employers. In the banking and finance sector, Barclays and Eversheds have large operations based here, and the industry as a whole supports a staff that represents more than 20% of the workforce. Another 20% of local employees work in the hotel, restaurant, and distribution sector. And because the city is famous for its historical architecture, tourism is also a significant economic contributor in Newcastle. In 2012, median weekly income was £469.70.