The city of Wakefield has a long history. It used to be the seat of the old West Riding of Yorkshire and then West Yorkshire County.
It's been a trading city for coal, iron and wool. The shut down of the coal mines and much of the manufacturing industry nearby hit employment hard. High jobless figures brought government and European investment and unemployment is now below the national average in the city, and a couple of percent above in the whole of the Wakefield area.
More than one in four people in the Wakefield area draw their salaries from the public sector. The city houses the Yorkshire and Humberside regional assembly, the District Council, and the headquarters of both the West Yorkshire Police. At 39,000 staff it is the biggest source of employment in the area and along with NHS posts it dominates the adverts of recruitment agencies in the area.
An easy drive of 14 miles up the M1 motorway is the city of Leeds, the third biggest in the UK and the second biggest financial centre. Partly as a result, in and around Wakefield 23 thousand people have jobs in finance, IT and business.
The National Coal Mining Museum in the city is a reminder of an industry which is almost completely gone, but one of the country's few remaining mines, Kellingley Colliery lies 15 miles to the east. It is the UK's biggest producer of coal, directly providing 700 jobs.