Following many years of recession, the Sheffield economy is seeing a dramatic resurgence. According to a 2004 Barclays Bank Financial Planning report, the Sheffield borough of Hallam was the top ranked location outside of London for total wealth in 2003, with over 12% of persons earning more than £60,000 per year. According to a Knight Frank study, Sheffield was the fastest-growing city outside of London in terms of office and residential space and rents during the second half of 2004. The current wave of redevelopments, such as the City Lofts Tower and St Paul’s Place, Velocity Living and the Moor redevelopment, the upcoming NRQ and the recently completed Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens, Millennium Galleries, and many projects under the Sheffield One redevelopment agency, demonstrate this. Sheffield’s economy expanded from £5.6 billion in 1997 (GVA) to £9.2 billion in 2007. (2007 GVA).
According to the “UK Cities Monitor 2008,” Sheffield is one of the top ten “best cities to locate a company today,” with the city ranking third and fourth for best office location and best new contact center site, respectively. According to the same survey, Sheffield ranks third in terms of “greenest reputation” and second in terms of cash incentives available.
Sheffield is well-known around the world for its metallurgy and steel production. Many breakthroughs in various sectors have occurred in Sheffield, for example, Benjamin Huntsman developed the crucible process in the 1740s at his Handsworth factory. The Bessemer converter, invented by Henry Bessemer in 1856, made this procedure obsolete. In the early 18th century, Thomas Boulsover created Sheffield Plate (silver-plated copper). Harry Brearley introduced stainless steel in 1912, and the work of F. B. Pickering and T. Gladman in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s was critical to the creation of current high-strength low-alloy steels. New advanced manufacturing technologies and procedures are being developed by Sheffield’s universities and other independent research organizations on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC, a research collaboration between the Boeing Company and the University of Sheffield), Castings Technology International (CTI), The Welding Institute (TWI), and William Cook Group are all situated on the AMP.
Forgemasters, established in 1805, is the world’s last independent steelworks, dominating the north east of Sheffield along the Lower Don Valley. The company has a worldwide reputation for making the biggest and most complicated steel forgings and castings, and it is approved to create key nuclear components, including the Royal Navy’s Astute class submarines. The company also has the ability to pour Europe’s biggest single ingot (570 tonnes) and is actively extending its capabilities.
While iron and steel have long been the principal businesses of Sheffield, coal mining has also been a significant sector, especially in the outlying districts, and the Palace of Westminster in London was constructed using limestone from quarries in the adjacent town of Anston. Call centers, the City Council, colleges, and hospitals are among other places to work.
Sheffield is a significant shopping hub, with several High Street and department shops, as well as designer boutiques. The Moor district, Fargate, Orchard Square, and the Devonshire Quarter are the primary retail areas in the city center. John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Atkinsons, and Debenhams are among the department shops in the city center. Castle Market, constructed over the ruins of the castle, was originally Sheffield’s largest market. This structure is scheduled to be dismantled. Sheffield Moor Market first opened its doors in 2013. Meadowhall shopping complex and retail park, Ecclesall Road, London Road, Hillsborough, Firth Park, and the Crystal Peaks shopping mall are all located outside of the city center. Meadowhall was rated 12th and Sheffield City Centre was ranked 19th in a 2010 assessment of expected spending at retail centers in the United Kingdom.
Sheffield has a District Energy system that uses home garbage to generate power by incinerating it and converting the energy from it. It also supplies hot water, which is transported through two networks over roughly 25 miles (40 km) of pipes under the city. Many buildings in the city rely on these networks for heat and hot water. Not only do they contain theaters, hospitals, stores, and businesses, but also institutions (Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield), as well as residential residences. From 225,000 tonnes of garbage, a waste facility generates 60 megawatts of thermal energy and up to 19 megawatts of electrical energy.
Sheffield City Area Enterprise Zone was established in 2012 to foster development in a variety of locations in Sheffield and around the region. Additional sites were added to the zone in March 2014.