Was important industrial and military center in Soviet times. Many factories were located here and so was the secret (then) Zokniai military airbase now used by NATO. Siauliai heavily suffered in economic and social terms in the middle 1990s after the collapse of the USSR and Lithuania's transition from a planned economy to the free-market one. Many Soviet factories went bankrupt or just closed, the unemployment rate and other economic indicators were some of the worst in Lithuania. However the situation started changing in the recent years as the city started receiving more investments into infrastructure and various private sectors including new housing, commercial and retail developments.