More New Zealanders cancelling unemployment benefit

The net number of people getting off the unemployment benefit has increased for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
By: | March 12, 2021

Data from the Ministry of Social Development showed that in the last week of February, 3,120 people cancelled their unemployment benefit as they had landed jobs, while 3,003 others went on to the Jobseeker Support in the same week.  

This was a continuation of the trend since the start of the year that showed an increase in the number of people getting off the unemployment benefit as they had found work, the data showed. 

Although the data was for just one week, Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said it was a milestone worth marking.  

He said, “We are seeing that we are getting Kiwis back into work, that has been a key focus as we have moved through this pandemic. It is hopefully reflective of that continuing trend of getting people into employment. We’ve seen in recent weeks that the number of people getting into work and off the benefit has been relatively strong and there is a hope that will continue.” 

Olsen said the healthcare and construction sectors and the public sector are shoring up hiring strongly. 

Other sectors actively hiring were information, communications and technology; manufacturing, transport and logistics; and trades and services, said Seek NZ general manager Janet Faulding. 

Meanwhile, sectors which are still in a difficult position were tourism-related ones with some in a hiring-freeze mode, while others were laying off staff, she added. This means there are many people still struggling and needing support from the government.  

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Since March last year, the total number of people on the jobseeker benefit has jumped by 63,000. However, social development minister Carmel Sepuloni said those numbers were beginning to decline. 

“It is heartening, but obviously we don’t want to see too much into it at this stage.” The number of people coming off the benefit and going into work showed there were still jobs out there, Sepuloni said, according to RNZ.