Benefit numbers continue to fall

Social Development and Employment

June Quarter Benefit statistics released today show the number of people receiving a Main Benefit continues to fall.

“There are 3,717 fewer people on a Main Benefit compared to March 2022,” Carmel Sepuloni said.  “However, while we are still seeing a good number of people move off benefit and into work, there is still some volatility in weekly numbers due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

“The Government’s quick response to COVID-19 which included significant investment into front-line work-focused case management has meant that most people seeking assistance from MSD are linked into work quickly. This has led to the downward trend in the number of people receiving a Benefit over the last few quarters.

“Treasury forecasts at the beginning of the pandemic predicted 487,500 people would be receiving a Main Benefit by January 2021 but the number of people needing support did not reach that level.  As at the end of June there were 344,622 people receiving a Main Benefit around 47,000 less than the peak in January 2021.

“As at the end of June 11 percent of working age New Zealanders are receiving a Main Benefit, this is just over two years on from the beginning of the pandemic and compares to 12.5 percent in the same period after the Global Financial Crisis (June 2010).

“The number of people receiving a Jobseeker Work Ready Main Benefit, is now 100,086, or 3.2 percent of the working age population.  This is in line with the reported unemployment rate in the Household Labour Force Survey.

“The statistics show our investment into front line case management has worked, and while we are not out of the woods by any means, we are tracking in the right direction.

“Also encouraging is the continuing high number of people moving off a benefit and into paid employment with 26,334 people moving off a benefit into work during the June quarter this included 8,444 people who had been receiving a main benefit for more than a year.

The Quarterly Statistics can be found here  https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/index.html