In the UK's Southeast corner, Dartford is a coastal borough in Kent, bordered to the north by the Thames River. 84% of the 97,600 residents are economically active - an impressive figure when compared to the 76.7% nationwide. And with an unemployment rate of only 2.7%, Dartford can also boast substantially lower unemployment figures than the UK average.
Though the region's once important papermaking and cement industries have experienced a significant decline in recent years, the local economy has managed to compensate by expanding in other areas. Hotels, restaurants, and distribution companies staff roughly 32% of Dartford's employees, and the large public sector is responsible for another 20% of jobs. The Dartford Borough Council is the area's leading employer. But many also work in the retail industry, the hub of which is the Bluewater Shopping Centre. Administrative and secretarial jobs are the most common occupation, and more than 15% of the workforce earns its living in these office professions. Dartford's recruitment agencies report many residents also commute to nearby London.
Dartford's weekly median income in 2012 was £567.50, which far exceeds the £508 national median. A growing finance and IT sector currently provides about 17.5% of the workforce with jobs, while the substantially declined manufacturing industry still accounts for about 8% of local employment.