Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

North East braces for the slump

By Alex, Dan, Shannon, Sunita and Vidya
School Reporters, Macmillan Academy, Middlesbrough

Pupils filming in docks area
Macmillan students wonder what the slump will do to their city

Government figures have confirmed that the UK is officially in recession for the first time since 1991.

As unemployment in northeast England is among the highest in the UK, the BBC sent a news team to the industrial heart of Middlesbrough to gauge the extent of the problem in Teesside.

As a local school we were invited to shadow their production team and interview their guests.

In the previous recession the north east was very hard hit, however, many people now seem to feel that Middlesbrough is better placed than many places to weather the recession.

North and south

Dean of Teesside Business School, Alastair Thomson, said: "Some industries are going to be very hard hit but there are also a lot of investments taking place.

Pupils with camera
The students go to work with a BBC News team

"The centre of Middlesbrough has seen a lot of investments over the past couple of years."

Mr Thomson thinks that having experienced difficulties in the past makes it easier to respond in the future.

He said: "The recession this time around will probably hit Maidenhead a lot harder than it hits Middlesbrough."

It does seem that the north and south will be affected in different ways throughout this recession.

Diversifying industries

BBC Business reporter Maryam Moshiri explained that: "In the north, people are more reliant on the manufacturing sector."

But she added: "The north east in particular is diversifying its industries and the sectors which it invests money in and that's going to help a lot.

Student films an interview
Experts say Middlesbrough could be well placed to weather the downturn

"In the south, the property downturn has really hit hard because, of course, property prices in the south of England rose at a much faster rate than in the North."

As well as developing our understanding about the economic crisis affecting Britain, we learned a lot about what real reporters and producers do.

It was exciting to be out of the classroom meeting and working the BBC staff.

It was a great experience which will help us when we undertake our next big challenge - the BBC School Report News Day in March.

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