Equidistant from London and Birmingham, Milton Keynes is a young economic centre in Buckinghamshire with a population of nearly a quarter million. Planned and developed in the 1960s, the strong local economy here has seen an explosion of growth in the past half-century, and continues to add 5000 new jobs annually. Far exceeding the national average of 76%, more than four-fifths of the population here is listed as economically active, and unemployment levels were at a low 3.1% in 2012. Recruitment agencies report a particular upsurge in recent demand for staff in the hotel, restaurant, and distribution sector, which currently employs 31% of the workforce. Argos and Tesco are two top employers in the area, and Milton Keynes central location has made it one of the most important business conference centres in the nation.
The large public sector employs another 20% of workers, while the banking and finance industry supports a staff of about 80,000. The local council and NHS Trust are two of the regions largest employers. Several major employers including Suzuki, Aston Martin, VW, and Daimler-Chrysler also support Milton Keynes relatively large manufacturing industry, which accounts for 13% of the workforce. In 2012, weekly median income in Milton Keynes was an impressive £536.60.