‘The sky’s the limit’ for jobs in Adur if the IKEA in Lancing gets the green light, a job centre manager has said.
This news comes as the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Adur was slashed by 40 per cent since 2013, despite levels rising in the past two years.
In July 2013, there were 845 claimants – but in July this year, 480 people made claims, 43 per cent fewer than four years ago.
However, this is a 20 per cent increase from July 2015, when there were 385 claimants.
Karen Brooks works at the Jobcentre in High Street, Bognor Regis and her job covers the Adur area. She said the rise could be explained by the introduction of universal credit, which may have ‘skewed the figures’.
But her outlook for Adur’s job prospects was positive, particularly with the New Monks Farm development – which is likely to include 600 houses and IKEA – on the horizon.
She said: “I think IKEA is committed to employing local people so the sky’s the limit.
“It might bring other companies into the area; we don’t know what the knock-on effect will be. With all the new houses being built, new services will also be needed, which will create jobs. It will be a fruitful time.”
In the past 12 months, January had the lowest unemployment rates in Adur, with 430 jobseeker’s allowance claims. The highest levels were in April, when numbers steadily reached 535 claims – a 20 per cent increase of 105.
Karen explained that this trend reflected people with temporary Christmas work coming to an end of their contracts and searching for a new job.
In July, 4.58 million people were in employment in the South East – a record high, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
The unemployment rate in the region was 3.2 per cent – 1.2 per cent below the national average.
She said that overall, the employment figures in coastal areas of the county were strong: “We have a very buoyant labour market and the county and district councils do quite a lot of work to encourage businesses into the area.”
In those aged between 18 and 24, levels of claims have remained broadly the same during the past 12 months.
Karen explained that the Government uses this age bracket as an unemployment measure due to its focus on getting young people into jobs.
On a national level, employment rates hit a record high, with 75.1 per cent of people – 32.07 million – in employment. In the South East, this figure was four per cent higher.
These figures are the highest since records began in 1971.