The port and port related industries were central to the growth and development of Liverpool over many years. The Port of Liverpool responded to changes in transport technology and trading patterns with a combination of policies of investment and rationalization. Male unemployment in Liverpool at that time was only 4.6 per cent and there were shortages of skilled labour in certain fields such as engineering. Although the port will continue to play a major part in the local economy in the County Council's view, unlikely to return to its former dominance and volume of trade. It was also being suggested that the provision of employment was failing to match population growth. Oversupply was one of the key features of the Liverpool housing market to emerge in the nineteen nineties. The residential environment also changed with long term improvements in many parts of the city.