Oldham is a town in the Greater Manchester area of north-west England with a population of 225,200. It is perhaps best known as one of the first manufacturing towns of the Industrial Revolution, but it is no longer a major centre for the textiles industry.
The main source of employment in the area is the public sector, which accounts for 28.3% of the jobs. Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council are among the largest employers in the town.
Oldham's retail, hospitality and distribution industries have created 27% of the jobs in the town. The centre has undergone much redevelopment work in recent years and it now features the Town Square and Spindles shopping centres, which provide opportunities for retail staff. It is hoped the new Metrolink service from Manchester will help to breathe further life into the town.
The manufacturing sector accounts for 17% of jobs in Oldham, with Park Cake Bakeries, Trinity Mirror Printing and Diodes Zetex Semiconductors among the major employers, while 7% of people in work are employed in the construction industry.
Just 19.3% of Oldham's working age population has attained NVQ4 or higher qualifications. This is reflected in the relatively large proportion of people in customer service, manual labour and factory floor jobs, along with the presence of many established industrial recruitment agencies.
The median weekly wage for full-time workers in Oldham in 2012 was £426.10, which was more than £80 below the national average. Despite that, the unemployment rate was high at 10.6%.