This expansive town in South London, located about 10 miles south of Charing Cross, is home to some 365,000 residents. Over 80% of locals here are economically active, which is substantially higher than the national average. But unemployment (4.1% in 2012) is also slightly above average for the UK. Croydon's service industry dominates the local economy, providing jobs for about half the workforce, which can boast higher education levels than most of Great Britain. 37% of local employees have obtained NVQ4 or above, and more than 20% work in professional occupations.
Though median weekly income here is nearly £75 above the UK average, this nonetheless impressive figure is somewhat compensated by the fact that London has a notoriously high cost of living. The public sector is the largest local employer, responsible for providing about 40,000 residents with employment opportunities in the fields of education, public administration, and healthcare. Tourism is also a significant source of employment in the town, creating more than 8,500 positions. But retail is undoubtedly the largest source of private sector employment, and Croydon - home to the Whitgift Shopping Centre and countless smaller retail outlets - is known as one of the region's leading shopping destinations. Local recruitment agencies list a high percentage of positions in the retail and financial sectors.