Shropshire Council

Employment and economy

Shropshire has a high economic activity rate amongst the 16-64 population, and given comparatively low levels of unemployment as well, employment levels are high for this age group. However, given the high proportion of the population past retirement age, the economic activity rate of the 16+ population is much closer to the national rate.

The Shropshire labour force is comparatively well qualified, at least compared to the West Midlands, but supports fewer professionals, whilst more work in elementary occupations or as process, plant and machine operatives. Shropshire also supports an above average number of people working in skilled trades occupations. Find out more from our Skills Report (Aug 2017).

Shropshire supports a primarily small-business economy, with more than nine out of ten enterprises employing fewer than ten people. Self-employment is high, and significant numbers work from home/run businesses from home. There are comparatively few large employers, and employment is largely concentrated in the county town of Shrewsbury, and the main market towns of Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth and Ludlow.

Key sectors include health, education, retail and manufacturing. Shropshire is under-represented in private sector services such as professional, scientific and technical, and finance and insurance. The mix of sectors in Shropshire contributes to comparatively low workplace wages and to low levels of productivity (GVA generation).

Shropshire’s business base is relatively stable and experiences less churn than many other areas. This means that survival rates are good, but also reflects relatively low levels of start-ups.

Despite comparatively low workplace wages, resident wages are closer to the national average, with many high earners commuting out of the county for work. Generally, Shropshire is an affluent location, with low levels of deprivation and minimal unemployment. However, like other places, there are pockets of deprivation in Shropshire, where unemployment is higher and incomes lower.

Key economy and employment facts and figures for Shropshire can be found in our economy snapshot.

For more detailed employment and economic information, use the links on this page to look at the various groups of information, or take a look at our Shropshire Economic Profile