A metropolitan borough in the Midlands with a population of nearly a quarter million, Wolverhampton is the second largest urban centre in West Midlands. While the economy here was originally founded on woollen trade and the mining industry, engineering, aerospace, and the service industry are the primary economic supporters today. As with most of the UK, the once powerful production-based economy here has been reduced to a shadow of its former influence, and the public sector has risen considerably to fill its place. But Wolverhampton's economy is nonetheless more production-reliant than most in Great Britain. About 21% of the workforce here is employed in factories or elementary occupations, while another 10% work in skilled trade occupations, meaning the region's working class is much larger than average.
But 14% work in professional occupations, while another 12% are staffed in administrative or secretarial capacities. Recruitment agencies also claim retail is a rising sector, and indeed, Wolverhampton is one of the largest retail centres in the area. 23% of all employees here work as staff in hotels, restaurants, or at distribution companies.Employment in the public sector - where about a third of all local jobs are found - is lead by the Wolverhampton City Council, which staffs some 12,000. Birmingham Midshires, the University of Wolverhampton, Beatties, Chubb Locks, and Carillion are also top local employers. In 2012, unemployment was at a high 7.5% as the city struggled through the recession. That same year, weekly median income was £430.