As 2012 draws to a close, it's been another turbulent twelve months for the economy. This was the year we went back into recession - but also the year that unemployment fell.
At the heart of the story are the region's businesses - desperately trying to grow despite all the cuts. Since January, we've been following the fortunes of twelve of them in the ITV Business Club.
All this week we'll be looking back on their year. We begin with two firms who've been forced to look further afield for success.
More top news
Callum Young, who will now be 23, was last seen on August 27 last year at his home in Hylton Road.
Gunner Paul Ferguson was on leave from the Army when he died in the early hours of Sunday August 21.
Dutch International Darryl Janmaat left for Watford, USA's DeAndre Yedlin arrived from Spurs and Tim Krul left for a season's loan at Ajax.