Increase in benefit numbers smaller for Sept

Published: Mon 5 Oct 2009 03:10 PM
Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Minister for Youth Affairs
5 October 2009Media Release
Increase in benefit numbers smaller for Sept
The number of people needing an Unemployment Benefit has slowed significantly over the last month, says the Minister for Social Development and Employment.
Paula Bennett has today released the benefit numbers for September, which show 60,660 people receiving the Unemployment Benefit around the country.
That number was 59,151 at the end of August.
“While there’s been an overall increase in the number of those needing an Unemployment Benefit, the increase for September has slowed compared with previous months.
“I believe what we’re seeing is a result of employers’ confidence rising, seasonal work kicking in and this Government’s unrelenting focus on supporting jobseekers.
“Our Job Ops initiative - which was part of our Youth Opportunities Package - has created nearly 1500 work positions for young people.
“It’s always pleasing to see fewer people needing a benefit – but this doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. We will continue to work on growing the economy and creating jobs.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about today’s benefit statistics. I know this has in part been the result of the excellent work being done by the extra 303 frontline staff at Work and Income. We’re still seeing those vacancies coming in – some 1040 new jobs were listed with Work and Income nationally last week compared with 730 this time last year. Staff are working hard to fill those vacancies,” Paula Bennett says.
The Minister has today also launched the Ministry of Social Development’s 2009/10 Auckland Regional Plan, which focuses firmly on employment.
The plan is one of 11 to be rolled out across New Zealand over the next month. They set out each region’s specific needs and how the Ministry will respond to them.
“This has been a tough year for so many families, particularly in Auckland. Rising unemployment has been a considerable challenge – and one that will remain for a while yet. The Ministry will continue to work with employers and industries to understand their changing needs.”
At the end of September there were 22,116 working-aged people receiving the Unemployment Benefit in Auckland, up from 6,519 at the same time last year.
“We want the best support for those who find themselves without work, and to create new opportunities for them,” Paula Bennett says.
“Auckland’s a young city – 40% of its population is under 25. In the year ahead the Ministry will focus on youth employment through the Youth Opportunities package and programmes such as Cadet Max.”
“Since Job Ops was set up 9 weeks ago, 307 work opportunities have been listed by Auckland employers. Right now there are 131 positions available. I’d encourage more Auckland employers to step up – I want to see more of them offering employment opportunities for our under 24s,” Paula Bennett says.
The other major areas being highlighted in the Auckland Regional Plan include helping young people thrive, keeping children safe and achieving this through value for money.
Editor’s note: The regional plan draws together the activities of all of the Ministry's service lines within the Auckland region. These include: Child, Youth and Family, Work and Income, Family and Community Services, the Ministry of Youth Development, StudyLink, Integrity Services, and Senior Services.

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