The Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021.
“More people moved into work last quarter than any time since the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) began keeping electronic records in 1996,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The investment the Government has made during our response to COVID-19 is working and has led to lower than predicted unemployment.
“The longer people remain on a benefit the more difficult it becomes for them to re-enter the Labour Market, so early interventions are vital. That’s why the Government invested in the Wage Subsidy to keep people in work, and invested an additional $150m to increase MSD’s employment and financial services as part of our COVID-19 recovery package.
“We’ve continued to invest in employment outcomes along the way, with additional funding for Flexi-Wage and industry interventions such as Apprenticeship Boost. The quarterly statistics show that more people are moving off Benefit than coming on. The number of people now receiving a Main Benefit is 365,937 a fall of 23,563 from the December Quarter. The fall is in line with the trend we generally see in the March quarter, however signs are encouraging with 10,670 more people moving off benefit than the same period in 2019.
“The statistics for the next quarter will provide us with a more complete insight but indications are positive. This positivity is reflected in the latest jobs online data which shows vacancies increased 73.7 percent compared to a year earlier. Vacancies are up across all industries with most growth being seen in healthcare, manufacturing, construction and hospitality.
“MSD have been working hard to ensure those who sought assistance during the pandemic are linked back into work as quickly as possible. Their effort is making a difference, and the March quarter results are a testament to the great work of MSD staff right across the country. While these figures are encouraging we cannot rest on our laurels. MSD will continue to prioritise linking Jobseekers into work and supporting businesses who are looking for new staff,” said Carmel Sepuloni.