Unemployment figures continue to fall across region

The Jobcentre, in Worthing
The Jobcentre, in Worthing

UNEMPLOYMENT levels continue to fall across the Herald and Gazette area with ‘hundreds’ of new jobs being advertised every day, according to a Jobcentre manager.

Steve Wood, coastal West Sussex partnership manager for the Jobcentre, says the ‘worst of the recession is over’ locally, with an increasing amount of employers and a fall in those claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

He said: “The message is around Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) which is really positive. The national picture is reflected in the south east. We have got the highest rate of employment now of any UK region.

“We are trying to work in partnership with employers and local organisations, like Northbrook College, for example, who run training courses for us.

“They are very proactive in terms of apprenticeships, too. If we have young people looking to move on to work, we work with them.”

Latest figures released on Monday for Worthing, Adur and Arun all show significant reductions in JSA of the highs seen in the recession.

In Worthing, 822 were claiming JSA in January (1.3 per cent), 32 per cent down on last year.

Adur had 467 claiming JSA (1.3 per cent), a reduction of 48 per cent, while Arun has 1,181 (1.4 per cent), a total of 30 per cent down on last year.

In the past six months, the figures have fluctuated slightly but remain at a constant overall percentage.

Critics of the Government have suggested the increases are largely due to a rise in part-time and zero hours contracts but Mr Wood countered this, stating three quarters nationally are finding work on a full-time basis.

As previously reported in Business Matters, Worthing has also seen a spike in self employment.

Mr Wood said: “On a national level, full time employment is higher and we’re talking about three quarters of people are in full time work and that is probably reflected locally.

“Everybody talks about part time work but a lot of the time, that sustains individual needs.”

Mr Wood said there has been a focus on youth unemployment, with those aged between 18 and 24 claiming JSA also falling at comparative levels to the main figures.

In Worthing, 170 young people are claiming JSA, in Adur 105 and Arun 235.

The figures represent declines on last year of between 38 and 48 per cent.