Industry in Leeds

Back in the 16th-19th century, Leeds industry focused more on manufacturing. At the dawn of the 21st

century, the city is now gearing towards the service sector. It is home to UK’s biggest financial centres outside its capital. Way back in 2003, it was even given an award for being the best city for business in Britain. The award came from Omis Research. However, in 2005 it dropped and went 3rd.

Over the period of a decade (2002-2012), the economy of the city has grown approximately 39%. This is 5% below than the national growth. When the Great Recession happened way back in 2008-2010, the economy of the city suffered tremendously and the Leeds insurance loss assessors.

There has been an emergence of new industries such as media, offices, call centres and retail. All these have contributed to the economic growth of the city way back in the 1990s. Here’s a trivia, the city was the first city in the UK to have access to broadband as well as digital coverage.


This was when at the peak of the dot-com era. It enabled the media sector to rise. A total of 33% of the country’s Internet traffic will go through the city of Leeds. It made the city as an important Internet centres of the country.

There are approximately ten industry sectors in Leeds, namely:

1. Agriculture, fishing and forestry
2. Production (inclusive of manufacturing)
3. Real Estate
4. Construction
5. Distribution (inclusive of food, accommodation and transport)
6. Business
7. Information & communication
8. Public administration, health and education
9. Financial & Insurance
10. Other household activities and services

Concerning the manufacturing industry, there is a total of 1,800 companies that are into such industry. They specialised in the field of medical technology, chemicals, drink and food manufacture, print, and engineering, among others. This industry employs approximately 30,000 people.

The manufacturing companies found within the city are SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Major manufacturing companies that are operating in Leeds are DairyCrest, ARLA Foods, Siemens, and Mitsubishi.

As for food production, this industry comprises most of the manufacturing companies within the city. Arla Foods UK, Carlsberg-Tetley’s, Leeds Brewery, and Kirkstall Brewery, to name a few. Even, Unilever is in the city to manufacture different goods right at the factory. It is located in Whinmoor district.

When it comes to the retail industry, Leeds has a lot on the menu. It is home to various shopping attractions, namely. The Light, Crown Point Retail Park, Leeds Shopping Plaza, Merrion Centre Leeds, St. John’s Centre, and Headrow Shopping Centre to name a few. The city even ranked 9th as one of the top UK retail centres. This was based on Retailvision survey in 2011.

As for tourism industry, it is estimated there is a total of 20,000 jobs (full-time) in this sector. A total of 1.5 million individuals who do come to the city to sleep annually and enjoy the scenic city views. Also, there is a total of 10 million people who do visit Leeds on a day trip. For those who fancy touring around the city, sightseeing tours are available in summer season. To those who fancy river cruises, Leeds Cruisers are available and offer such service on a regular basis.