Luton is a large town of 255,000 in Bedfordshire, located about 30 miles north of London. It is divided into two constituencies, North and South, and the workforce in both regions is primarily supported by the large public sector. Luton Borough Council and the local NHS Trust, which staffs about 2000, are amongst the largest employers in the area. Luton has historically been known as an industrial centre, and major producer of airplanes, automobiles, ball bearings, and hats. Today, the manufacturing industry is still a key force in the local economy, and provides 20% of employment. Though in steady decline, Luton's manufacturing has been able to sustain itself far more successfully than elsewhere in the UK by shifting from a production focus to an emphasis on engineering and research. Luton's top manufacturing employers include TUI and IBC Vehicles.
With the London Luton Airport staffing 9000, air transit is another significant source of local employment opportunities. In addition to the large airport staff, EasyJet employs thousands of local residents. Retail accounts for an additional 18% of the workforce. While Luton's unemployment rates are on par with the national average of 3.7% in both the north and south constituencies, median weekly income in 2012 lagged about £20 behind the UK's overall median. Recruitment agencies have noticed a slight upsurge in recent job offerings as the UK rebounds from the worst of the recession.