More than half of all English people work in the
service sector, which includes jobs in finance, transportation, education,
tourism, the arts, health and recreation. England's financial sector is
centred on a square mile of downtown London known as "the City." It is one
of the busiest financial-services districts in the world. It holds the
greatest concentration of overseas banks in the world and the world's biggest
foreign exchange market, as well as large insurance companies and commodities
Manufacturing employs about 17% of England's workers.
Britain has a long history of producing goods, from ships, cars and steel to
textiles, china and soap. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, factories were
powered by coal from British mines. These industries created jobs, but also
environmental pollution. Today, the air is cleaner, but there are fewer jobs
in industry, and former industrial towns such as Manchester, Birmingham,
Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford are declining in importance. The
loss of industrial jobs has also decreased the power of England's trade unions,
which once fought for workers' rights.
Today, jobs are being created in new industries,
including robotics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, computers, aerospace
components, electronics and telecommunications equipment. Modern factories
are powered with oil and gas from underneath the North Sea or with electricity
from nuclear power plants. Tourism is also a source of new jobs. The number
of visitors to Great Britain has doubled over the last two decades. Most
visitors are from North America and Europe.
About three-quarters of England's land area is used
for farming, but because of mechanization, only about 1% of the population
works in agriculture. In the upland areas of the north and west, farmers
raise livestock, including cattle and sheep. In the lowland areas in the
east and south, farmers grow wheat, barley, oats, hay, vegetables and sugar
beets. In coastal areas, fishing is important
Did you know?
England has been an important centre for printing and
publishing ever since William Caxton set up a press at Westminster (now part
of London) in the 15th century. Today, English publishers produce more than
75,000 new book titles a year.