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Economy Overview

Ashford is a thriving and dynamic economy which has seen massive growth both in terms of population and employment throughout the last decade.  The information below indicates the vitality and potential of the local economy.


111,000 (2005)
Ashford's population has grown by 12% between 1998 and 2005 compared to 4% in the South East.


Employment in Ashford has grown by 22% between 1998 and 2005, compared to only 10% across the south east as a whole.

Recent figures released show unemployment has fallen. The number of people out of work and claiming benefit in Ashford was 964, down 68.

Business Growth

5,000 Businesses
The number of businesses in the Ashford borough grew by 29% between 1998 and 2005, almost double the rate for the South East as a whole (16%).  Ashford attracted 35 ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ (FDI) companies between 1997 and 2006.   Top companies in Ashford.


1.5% Resident Based Unemployment Rate (Jan 2007).

Business Base

At a broad sector level Ashford has relatively high proportions of businesses in the manufacturing, construction and distribution, hotels and restaurants sectors.

Labour costs

20% less than London.

International Connections

16% of foreign owned firms in Kent are based in Ashford taking advantage of the International rail links and close proximity to Europe.


31,000 new homes between 2001 and 2031.

28,000 additional jobs between 2001 and 2031.

A population increase from 55,000 to 110,000 in Ashford Town Centre and from 102,000 to 160,000 in the Ashford borough.

Development of over 2 million sq ft of office space, and the potential for approximately 140 hectares (350 acres) of commercial development by 2031.

New Ashford Learning Campus planned to support 14,000 students.