Benefit numbers fall

  • Paula Bennett
Social Development and Employment

The number of people
receiving the Unemployment Benefit has dropped by 4,224 over the last

"That's the single biggest
drop in the Unemployment Benefit since the recession began," says Social
Development Minister Paula Bennett.

The number of people on all
types of benefits has dropped by 10,816 over the same

Over half of that total
number, relates to young people on benefits.

"It's really pleasing to see
5,595 young people came off a benefit in just the last month," says Ms

"Young people have been among
the hardest hit by the recession and initiatives like Job Ops and Community Max
have proven vital in keeping young New Zealanders in work," says Ms

3,636 position had been
filled through Job Ops by the end of February, with 2,927 positions filled
through Community Max

Work and Income has continued
its work-first approach, using work brokers and its specialised recruitment
service Job Connect to match people with jobs.

In the last week of February,
38% of those who came into Work and Income didn't end up needing a benefit.

More than 5000 new job
vacancies were listed at Work and Income in February, as work brokers continue
to engage with employers and actively identify

 "While this is early days
and the effects of the recession are still being felt; there is light at the end
of the tunnel," says Ms Bennett.

Regionally the biggest drop
in Unemployment Benefit numbers was in the East Coast (20%), Auckland (16%) and
Bay of Plenty (11%).

Good availability of seasonal
work in areas like Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Otago and Hawke's Bay is expected to
remain strong through to April.