Coventry has long been an economic powerhouse in Great Britain, and despite recent setbacks, it is poised to revive its legacy of financial success. As the UK's most important centre for large-scale automotive and aeronautical production, it was heavily bombed during WWII. And while the manufacturing industry never fully recovered, the local economy is still driven by automobile and aircraft development. Large-scale production has been replaced, however, by a focus on R&D, prototyping, testing and design. Jaguar's R&D branch is based here, with a staff of more than 2000, and the Universities of Warwick and Coventry are both worldwide leaders in transport technology. The newly completed £70 million International Automotive Research Centre at Warwick University has attracted business interests and experts from around the world.
In Coventry's fast-growing aerospace sector, more than 100 businesses provide 5000 jobs and generate an annual turnover of £750 million. Top employers in the industry include Rolls Royce, Dunlop Meggitt, and Chinn Aerospace. The public sector, however, is the leading employment provider, and the Coventry County Council supports more than 18,000 local employees.
Yet Coventry's economic future will no doubt be shaped by the enormous £9.3 billion regeneration initiative currently underway, which will give rise to world-class housing developments, leisure facilities, and business and retail developments. Retail currently provides about 22% of local jobs, but recruitment agencies expect this percentage to rise dramatically in coming years.