Hundreds of Chichester businesses close down
More than 940 businesses have closed in Chichester in the last two years, according to new research.
The area's businesses have declined by 5% year-on-year, falling from 9,506 in 2010 to 8,564 in 2012, one of the worst rates in the country.
A Chichester District Council spokesman said: "What is important is the number of jobs created by new businesses starting that replaces those closing."
The figures came from research carried out by Experian for the BBC.
The council spokesman said unemployment in the district was 2.3% in February 2012.
"This is well below the South East of England, West Sussex and national average," he said.
The unemployment rates as at February 2012 were 2.5% in West Sussex, 2.8% in the South East and 4.1% in the UK as whole, he said.
Chichester council also said that in the last year Rolls Royce had created about 400 jobs, Nature's Way Foods had employed about 150 people full time and Marks and Spencer had also created 85 jobs.
The council said a dedicated team supported about 4,500 businesses in the district.
The research looked at evidence for growth, or otherwise, in every local authority area in England.
The data included information from sole traders and partnership not normally collected by other data agencies including, for example, people operating online auction businesses from home.
Crawley was the local authority with the highest proportion of exporting businesses in East or West Sussex, due to its proximity to Gatwick Airport, the report said.
In Brighton and Hove, the number of businesses rose by 766 from 21,407 to 22,173.
The research showed that the South East, followed by London, had the lowest proportion of "champion" businesses - companies which have the ingredients to prosper in this financial and economic climate.
These companies are often in a position to replace the jobs lost in small and medium-sized companies.
Dover saw the biggest growth in business in Kent, although the South East region as a whole fared worse than most of the rest of the country.
"Business growth over time provides a good indicator of the economic health of a local area and an indication of its future potential," the report said.