On March 7th the New Zealand Government revealed that over the month of February the number of individuals on the Unemployment benefit had dropped by 4 224, the largest decrease since the beginning of the recession.
In a statement, Paula Bennett, Social Development Minister of New Zealand, announced that the number of individuals receiving any type of benefit in New Zealand has seen a 10 816 person drop, while the number of Unemployment Benefit recipients has fallen by 4 224.
According to Paula Bennett, the recession has been especially hard on youth workers, and measures created to address unemployment in this sector have resulted in 5 595 individual leaving the benefit and finding employment. The Job Ops and Community Max initiatives have proven vital in making workforce entry a reality for younger workers. The two programs have assisted 6 563 persons in attaining paid-employment, with Jobs Ops responsible for 3 636 positions, while Community Max has provided 2 927. Work and Income New Zealand has also continued to pursue its work-first approach, opting to devote greater efforts to matching individuals with employment before other steps are taken in the benefit application process. Recent figures released by Work and Income New Zealand indicate that in the last week of February over 38 percent of applicants were matched with jobs straight away.
Closing her comments, Paula Bennett said, “While this is early days and the effects of the recession are still being felt; there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Further, she claimed that similar positive results can be expected in the near future with an abundance of seasonal work expected available across the country until the end of April.
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