In the North East of England, you'll find the county of Northumberland, and Morpeth is its county town, which is home to 16,000 inhabitants. Morpeth is the administrative centre for the County Council as well as one of the county's major market towns. It is located approximately 12 miles west from the coast and 14 miles north of Newcastle.
Major employers in the town include the County Council, the three local hospitals, the police headquarters, the Department for Work and Pensions, and Pharmacia (pharmaceutical manufacturers). The area is very much dependent on the public sector (more than anywhere else in the country), following the loss of its main shipbuilding and mining industries in the 1970s and 1980s. 61.8% of the population is economically active, and the majority of the workforce are employed in health and social work (17.2%). Other key industries offering regular employment are education (11.8%), manufacturing (10.9%), wholesale and retail trade (12.7%), retail estate (11.5), and public administration/defence (9.3%). The average annual wage for a full-time member of staff is around £31,243.
Whilst many people in the area are concerned about the impact of potential public sector job cuts, many local councillors and recruitment agencies believe that the £30m new Sanderson shopping centre will fill the gap by offering plenty of job opportunities in the private sector.