Leeds is a city in the metropolitan borough of Leeds, in the county of West Yorkshire, England. The city lies within the United Kingdom's fourth-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.6 million.
Leeds was a small manorial borough in the 13th century, and in the 17th and 18th centuries it became a major centre for the production and trading of wool, and in the Industrial Revolution a major mill town; wool was still the dominant industry, but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing, and other industries were also important. From being a market town in the valley of the River Aire in the 16th century, Leeds expanded and absorbed the surrounding villages to become a populous urban centre by the mid-20th century.
Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of the all the UK’s main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city. It also has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs of all the UK's Core Cities, with 77% of its workforce working in the private sector. Leeds has the third-largest jobs total by local authority area, with 480,000 in employment and self-employment at the beginning of 2015.