Unemployment drops but fears over jobs for youths

UNEMPLOYMENT in the Herald and Gazette area is on the decrease but concerns remain about the level of young people struggling to find work.

In the three months up to July, the number of residents claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Worthing, Arun and Adur fell slightly.

In Worthing, it has fallen from 2.6 per cent in May, to 2.3 per cent in July, while in Adur, it has dropped from 2.4 per cent, to 2.1 per cent.

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Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce CEO Tina Tilley said the figures indicated there was still a way to go before businesses owners felt more confident with the market.

She said: “I think businesses are feeling a little bit more stable, so they are not laying people off.

“But widespread growth, for taking on new staff, hasn’t really come into play yet.

“I think it’s going to take a bit more confidence for the figures to improve dramatically.”

Mrs Tilley also expressed concerns about the level of youth unemployment, which rose nationally, despite the overall decrease.

She said: “It was concerning to see a lot of younger people out of work.

“We want to keep our young people in the area, as there are a lot out there with very good skills.”

Since the beginning of the year, unemployment in the region has been steadily declining.

Figures remained at a standstill for the first three months, but from April, all regions have seen five consecutive months of drops.

Across Sussex, the number claiming jobseeker’s has dropped by over 800 people.

This leaves a total of 22,193 people claiming jobseeker’s across the county.

Adur District Council cabinet member for regeneration Pat Beresford said he was encouraged by the latest figures.

He said: “Any reduction in unemployment has to be good news. The economy must be on the up.

“However, although the picture is looking more positive, one has to be extremely cautious, as it’s a long and slow process for the economy to recover fully.”

Mr Beresford pointed to a number of ongoing projects which shows confidence in Adur is improving.

He said: “Morrisons are going to invest millions in Shoreham, and we have a lot of big companies, which are doing very well here.

“I am optimistic about the future.”

It was a similar picture in Arun, which had the lowest percentage of unemployment in July, at 2.1 per cent – a fall of 0.3 per cent since May.

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley, whose constituency encompasses Rustington, said there was no room for complacency, despite the improving figures.

He said: “My first reaction was that it was good news, but you have to remember each individual person who is either losing their job or seeking a job.

“One gloomy note, though, is that we still have many unoccupied shops, and I hope we can work to bring them back into good economic use.”