The latest statistics show the Government’s focus on jobs is working. The net number of people on a main benefit dropped by around 11,190 people during the past three months, with around 31,240 people moving off a benefit into work.
When COVID-19 hit, we went hard and early in response. We launched wage subsidies to protect jobs, supported Kiwi businesses with interest-free loans, and made sure vital supply chains stayed open so exporters could continue to provide New Zealand products to the world.
Now, that mahi is paying off, and while there is uncertainty ahead, we’re in a much stronger position than many other countries. This is reflected in the latest Ministry of Social Development statistics, which show the number of people on a benefit has dropped significantly over the past three months.
More people were placed into work than signed up for a main benefit in the June quarter, meaning that the number of main benefit recipients fell by around 11,190. In fact, this quarter saw the second highest number of people moved into work since records began, in 1996.
The statistics also highlight that we’ve not only been successful at getting people who’d recently lost their job back into employment, but we’re helping people who have been out of work for longer periods into jobs too. During the three months to June, 9,900 people who have been receiving a benefit for over a year moved into work. This is particularly notable given that the June quarter usually sees a seasonal rise in unemployment.
Our recovery is creating jobs and getting New Zealanders back to work. However, we’re also driving job creation more directly, by partnering with industry and supporting training to ensure businesses get the skills they need.
Flexi-wage, which supports businesses to take on new workers who may need a bit of extra training or support, has seen 9,972 people placed in work over the past year. Of that number 4,782 have found work following the expansion of the scheme in February.
Meanwhile, Apprenticeship Boost has supported 13,160 employers to take on or retain more than 30,000 apprentices. The Mana in Mahi programme, which works with businesses to get long-term unemployed into work and apprenticeships, has seen 2,526 people placed in work over the past 12 months, while He Poutama Rangatahi has helped 2,667 at-risk rangatahi Māori into employment, education, or training over the same period.
More than 135,000 people have taken up free trades training in targeted areas since we rolled it out last year. Meanwhile, Jobs for Nature, which creates jobs in our regions with a focus on protecting our environment, has now moved 3,000 people into work.
Thanks to programmes like these and our careful economic management so far, our unemployment levels are lower than those of countries like 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 plan to secure our recovery. As we rebuild our economy, we’re also making sure we tackle long term challenges like child poverty, housing affordability and climate change so that, together, we can come out of the pandemic stronger.
There’s more work to do, but these numbers show we’re moving in the right direction, together.
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