When talking about recovery in the UK economy, most look to London, the financial capital, for signs that things are getting better. But Manchester, one of the country's second- or third-biggest cities, depending on who you believe, would like to think it has something to do with it. And the latest figures show that.
Last month unemployment fell unexpectedly in Greater Manchester -- benefit claimants dropped by 398, or 0.5 percent - compared to the national number which fell by just 0.1 percent.
Inward investment has provided over 3,000 additional jobs during the first four quarters of the recession, according to a report by the Economist magazine. The likes of Bank of New York Mellon, Google , Nike and Credit Suisse have all provided a lift, the report said.
CNBC traveled to Manchester to speak with companies directly involved in local and international business to gauge the opinion on the economy and recovery prospects.
Angie Robinson, CEO of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC that “confidence is gradually returning.”
CNBC also talked to Newland Engineering. The company manufactures and exports mobile conveyor belts across the globe. Lynn Kerfoot, the groups CEO, spoke about the impact of the weaker pound, made-to-order products and identifying new markets.
Enthusiasm surrounding the number of new deals in the region is also lifting confidence, according to Keith Johnston, North West corporate partner at Addleshaw Goddard. He said that the area is benefiting from a mix of industries that London does not have.