Government supports more people off benefit

Social Development and Employment

Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni says the Government’s response to COVID-19 has helped keep people in work, with March Quarter Benefit statistics showing a further fall in the number of people receiving a main benefit and jobseeker assistance.

“There are 19,883 fewer people on a main benefit compared to December, with near record numbers of people moving into work,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The figures also show an annual fall of 4.8 percent in the number of poeple receiving a main benefit.

“The Government’s quick response to COVID-19 has worked, with initiatives such as the Wage Subsidy and our economic support packages keeping people in work and delivering record low unemployment.

“Two years into our response to the Global Pandemic we have continued to defy Treasury forecasts, which predicted 487,500 people on a main benefit in January 2021. This did not happen and there were 348,339 people recieving a Main Benefit as at March 2022.

“Despite the rhetoric from the Opposition, the facts show that there are a smaller proportion of workers on a benefit now than when National was Government during the Global Financial Crisis.

“There are now 11.1 percent of working age New Zealanders receiving a Main Benefit two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, this compares to 13.1 percent two years after the Global Financial Crisis.  

“The facts clearly show that when it comes to keeping people in work, we are doing better in our response to COVID-19 than National did during the Global Financial Crisis.

“The number of people receiving a Jobseeker Work Ready main benefit, is now 100,854, or 3.2 percent of the working age population.  This is in line with the reported unemployment rate in the Household Labour Force Survey.

“Also encouraging is the high number of people moving off a benefit and into paid employment. March 2021, saw a record 32,883 people move off a benefit and into paid employment. March 2022 is a close second with 31,524 people finding work in the first three months of the year.

“The investment we have made in front-line work focused case management is helping people move off benefit and back into work quickly. This investment is also paying off for longer term beneficiaries with 10,506 people who had been on a main benefit for a year or more finding employment in the March Quarter.

“While the signs are encouraging, we will continue to watch the situation closely and respond where needed,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Quarterly Statistics can be found here