Source: New Zealand Labour Party
Our plan to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 is working, with the past three months seeing the second-highest number of people moved off a main benefit into work since records began.
We’re supporting people into jobs while also helping ensure businesses have the skilled workers they need to grow, by supporting Kiwis to upskill through free training and apprenticeships and partnering with industry to fill skill shortages.
Here’s what we’ve achieved so far:
There are now around 354,740 people receiving a main benefit. Around 70% of them are disabled, sick, caring for someone, or a sole parent.
An unemployment rate of 4.7%
Unemployment is currently half of what was predicted when COVID-19 hit, with our unemployment rate lower than that of Canada, Australia, the United States, and other countries we would typically compare ourselves to.
Thanks to our investments in infrastructure and our initiatives supporting people into jobs, Kiwis are moving into work in record numbers. The first and second quarter this year saw the highest and second-highest number of people moving into work, respectively, since records began in 1996.
It’s often particularly challenging for those who’ve been on a benefit for more than a year to move into employment. So we’re very proud to see nearly 10,000 people in this situation finding work in the past three months.
More than 144,000 Kiwis upskilled through free trades training
We’re ensuring we have the skilled workers we need to secure our recovery, with more than a hundred thousand Kiwis taking up free trades training in targeted areas since we introduced it last year.
Over the past 12 months, nearly 10,000 people have found work via the Flexi-wage programme – and 4,782 of these people found work after we expanded the scheme in February. Flexi-wage supports businesses to take on new workers who may need a bit of extra training or support.
The Apprenticeship Boost programme helps employers keep and take on new apprentices, creating work opportunities and filling skill gaps. Since it was introduced last year, the programme has helped 13,160 employers take on or retain 30,031 apprentices.
The Mana in Mahi programme works with businesses to get long-term unemployed people into work and apprenticeships, creating pathways to sustainable employment by giving young New Zealanders sought-after skills and qualifications. In the last 12 months, 2,526 people have benefited from the programme.
He Poutama Rangatahi connects at-risk rangatahi with job opportunities and their culture. The programme has helped more than 2,600 young people overcome barriers to employment, education, or training in the last 12 months.
More than 200,000 people in work over the next four years
Treasury forecasts say that 221,000 more people will be in work over the next four years, as we continue with our recovery and the initiatives laid out in Budget 2021. The latest statistics show that our plan to secure our recovery, strengthen our workforce, and move people into jobs is working.
But getting people into work is just one part of our plan. 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.