Sunderland's economy on the up

A national think tank says Sunderland is shaking off the worst effects of the recession, at a time when many other cities are suffering badly.

The findings are part of the Centre for City's annual 'Cities Outlook'.

It argues that Sunderland felt the recession most keenly in 2008-09 and is now on the road to recovery.

"Although Sunderland continues to have a more vulnerable economy than some, because it is more public sector dependent and it was hit very hard in the first part of recession, in the last three years it's done much better than many other places, certainly relative to where it started from, with some of the jobs coming in from Nissan."

– Alexandra Jones, Centre for Cities

The Centre for Cities stresses that Sunderland's improving fortunes are relative; Wearside comes 61st overall for economy performance in the list of 63 UK cities. However, the think tank says Sunderland's improving fortunes contrast with Newcastle and Middlesbrough which are still feeling the full effects of recession.

The last three years have been some of the toughest years this city and country have faced for more than a decade.

But, as Centre for Cities recognises, we have been far more robust and resilient and are recovering faster than most cities.

Our reputation as the UK's automotive centre continues to be bolstered, new jobs are being created, educational attainment continues to improve, and there are strong levels of public and private sector investment.

– Cllr Paul Watson, Sunderland City Council Leader

The Centre for Cities warns there are many challenges ahead. It says a diverse economy and a highly skilled workforce will be crucial for all cities trying to weather the economic downturn.