Our economic recovery is gaining momentum and the latest figures show that the Government’s focus on jobs is working. We’ve delivered a record low unemployment rate as well as a steady fall in the number of New Zealanders receiving a main benefit.
More people are in work
The Ministry of Social Development has just released the March Quarter Benefit statistics, which show near record numbers of Kiwis moving off a benefit and into work, with more than 30,000 people finding work so far this year. This includes 10,500 people who had been on a main benefit for a year or more. We’ve worked hard to protect jobs through COVID, with economic support such as the Wage Subsidy, and by creating jobs through programmes like Jobs for Nature.
We’ve also invested in shovel-ready infrastructure projects around New Zealand, building the schools, community facilities and transport networks we need for the future. Not only is this helping the country to build back better following COVID, it’s also contributed to the high number of Kiwis moving off a benefit and into paid employment.
Thanks to these efforts, we’ve avoided the worst economic impacts of the pandemic and are in a good position to continue our strong recovery.
Training Kiwis for a productive economy
In addition to creating jobs, we’re also focused on training the skilled workers necessary to enable a highly productive, high wage, and innovative economy. This is a key part of our work across infrastructure, economic development, healthcare, and housing. We know there’s still more to do, but we can be proud of our progress.
Our investment in free apprenticeships and targeted training has seen more than 175,000 people take up the opportunity since July 2020, including more than 80,000 apprentices. The Apprenticeship Boost Initiative has so far helped employers keep more than 40,300 early-stage apprentices employed and training towards their qualifications through wage subsidies.
Flexi-wage, which supports businesses to take on new workers who may need a bit of extra training or support, has seen more than 14,000 people placed in employment since the scheme began.
More than 3,580 young people have been supported into employment, education or training through He Poutama Rangatahi. Our Mana in Mahi programme, which works with businesses to get people at risk of long-term unemployment into work and training, has supported a further 4,700 young people into work.
Our plan is working
Our relentless focus on jobs and upskilling Kiwis, along with our careful economic management, has seen our unemployment levels lower than countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States. These latest statistics are another positive indicator that our recovery plan is working.
Getting people into work is just one part of our economic recovery. We’re seizing the opportunities provided by our world-leading COVID response to build an economy that works for everyone, and tackle long term challenges like housing affordability and climate change, so that we can come out of this pandemic stronger.
There’s more work to do, but these numbers show we’re moving in the right direction, together.
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