The North East covers Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Teesside, which is partly in North Yorkshire. The industrial structure in this region used to be dominated by coalmining, iron and steel production, shipbuilding and chemicals. However, these industries have all declined rapidly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, due to foreign competition and high land and labor costs, as well as the exhaustion of coal seams in North East England. For example in 1947, there were 108,000 miners in the region in 127 pits, but by 1994 the last mine was closed and employment fell to just 55. In 1971, manufacturing accounted for 40% of employment in the region, but by 1996 this had fallen to 24% , with a loss of 95,000 jobs. This made the North East less wealthy, due to a large amount of people not earning a lot, or even none at all. In comparison, south east England, which is situated around the English capital city of London and located closest to the Continent is the opposite of the north east. It is a centre service for service industries, such as health, education and transport. In addition, there are important oil refineries at Southampton. This is an area of light industry, which includes new industries in the M4 corridor, like electronics and light engineering. Oxford is a centre for car production. There are also many financial and business service industries located in offices in the region. Unemployment is low (6.4% 2011) and prosperity is high in contrast to the north east.
Furthermore, despite these massive changes in the employment structure, the north east is still an important manufacturing area. Part of the reason for the growth of industry in the region was establishment of the Enterprise Zone in the 1980s, which gave relief from local business rate, reductions in corporation tax, and ‘fast tracking’ of the planning process, as well as subsidies for capital spending. These all helped to attract new firms to the area. In contrast, South east England has other ways for it being attractive to the industry, such as the location being where the four major airports are (Gatwick, Heathrow,Luton, Stansted) , this makes it excellent communications with other countries. Additionally, there are important ports there, such as Southampton, which allow the movement of heavy, bulky goods, and Tilbury and