Employment and income
Employment and Occupation
There were an estimated 75,800 Bedford Borough
residents aged 16-74 in employment at the time of the 2011 Census,
an increase of 5,300 (7.5%) since 2001.
This includes 10,800 self-employed, an
increase of 26% compared to 8,600 in 2001.
In addition there were 5,100 people unemployed
and seeking work.
A principal feature of the employment
structure of Borough residents is the over-representation of
public administration, education and health (30.5%) compared to
England (28.2%) and the region (27.0%)1.
Employment by occupation is broadly in line
with national averages. Around 29% of those in employment are
engaged in managerial and professional occupations compared to
28.4% in England; 22% in administrative and skilled trades compared
to 23% in England; and 12.4% in unskilled jobs compared to 11% in
Detailed 2011 Census breakdowns of the industry of employment
and the occupation of Borough residents, by gender, are
The most recent data on economic inactivity for the working age
population (16-64) is available from the Annual Population Survey
(APS) for July 2014 - June 2015, though this is based on only
a very small sample of the Borough’s residents and should be
treated with great caution.
The APS indicates that there were
approximately 18,400 economically inactive people aged 16-64 on
average during that period. This represents 18.4% of the working
age population, and compares to 22.3% in England and 19.9% in the
East of England.
Of the 18,400 working age adults who were
economically inactive, 2,900 indicated that they wanted a job, and
15,500 did not want a job, primarily due to being full-time
students, looking after the home, or being retired.
People with disabilities are far less likely to be in employment
than those without
disabilities. Of those Borough
residents who described their health as Very Bad or
Bad only 29% were economically active and only 17% in
full-time employment. This compares to 82% and 55% among
those with Very Good or Good health.3
Economic inactivity levels also vary by
ethnicity, particularly among females. For example, the 2011
Census estimates that 20% of the Borough's total female population
aged 25-49 is economically inactive.
However, there is great variation by
ethnicity, with particularly high levels of economic inactivity
among Gypsy or Irish Travellers (71%), Bangladeshi (70%) and
Pakistani (54%), though cultural factors clearly influence these
levels of inactivity.
The 2011 Census estimates that 53,570 (70.2%)
of the 76,270 Borough residents aged 16+ who were in
employment worked within Bedford Borough. This
represented a reduction over the 71.1% who worked in the
Borough in 2001.
Principal workplaces outside the Borough
included Central Bedfordshire (5,510), Milton Keynes (3,910),
London (3,350), Cambridgeshire (2,220) and Northamptonshire
While 22,700 Borough residents commuted out of
the Borough to work, there were 21,400 people who commuted into the
Borough, including large numbers from Central Bedfordshire (6,990),
Northamptonshire (4,410), Cambridgeshire (3,110) and Milton Keynes
On balance, more people commute out of the Borough to work than
travel here to work. However, between 2001 and 2011 the level
of net out-commuting declined from 2,160 to 1,290 so the balance
of working residents to available jobs in the Borough
1 ONS, 2011
Census, Table KS605EW
2 ONS, 2011
Census, Table KS608EW
2011 Census, Table CT0126
this section in pdf format here