STORE bosses have revealed a staggering 800 people applied for just 50 jobs at a new branch opening in town.
The hundreds of jobseekers, desperate to find work, applied for roles at the Dunelm Mill store, which opens on Thursday.
The store manager praised the “extremely high” calibre of applicants, although 750 jobseekers were unable to land a role, continuing their frustrating search for work.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said the figures demonstrate that people are looking for work in the town.
But despite the number of jobseekers in the town falling last month, he said: “It just shows that the reality is there isn’t enough jobs for people in the town.
“Every time a store opens, like Dunelm Mill, there are hundreds if not thousands of applicants.
“It shows just how much people in Hartlepool want to find work.”
Ray Scott, manager at the store, which is opening at Highpoint Retail Park in Marina Way, said: “The calibre of applicants for the Hartlepool area was extremely high and selecting the successful candidates was not easy.
“However all of the managers at the Hartlepool store are extremely pleased with the team we have chosen and are looking forward to working together to provide the best home furnishing retail experience for customers in the Hartlepool area.”
He added: “In the current economic climate people are looking for positions with stable companies and people put their trust in Dunelm Mill because whilst other businesses are closing we continue to grow and expand our business both online and offline through our simply value for money offering.”
Government figures released this week revealed that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance in Hartlepool fell by 136 from February to March this year, leaving 4,657 people claiming the benefit - the lowest since September.
But that figure is still way over the regional and national average of jobseekers allowance claimants.
Mayor Drummond, who is opening the store at 9am on Thursday, added: “When it comes to jobs and jobs availability, it often gets caught up in political rhetoric.
“What I’m saying about Hartlepool is fact, the figures speak for themselves and there simply aren’t enough jobs to cater for the people who are looking for work.
“Nothing is going to change until we get more companies setting up here in Hartlepool and the Government is giving us limited tools, making it so difficult for local authorities to make a difference.”
In August last year, bosses at The Range, which opened at Tees Bay Retail Park revealed that a staggering 2,500 people had applied for 150 jobs at the store.
Nick Wharton, Dunelm Mill chief executive, said: “We are always excited about the opening of a new store.
“It takes a lot of hard work, investment and commitment getting a new store up and running and we are delighted to welcome the Mayor of Hartlepool to open our doors for the very first time.
“We are confident that Hartlepool will continue to play a big part in the continued success of the company and look forward to introducing local shoppers to our ‘Simply Value for Money’ homewares offering.”