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Unemployment down by a quarter in one year

Unemployment down by a quarter in one year DPB below 100,000 for first time in a decade

Quarterly figures released today show the number of working-aged New Zealanders on the Unemployment Benefit dropped by a record 27 per cent in one year and the number of sole parents on the DPB fell below 100,000 for the first time since 1995.

The latest figures show that thousands of people are moving back into the workforce and achieving financial independence for their families, says Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Highlights from the quarterly figures include:

Unemployment Benefit numbers have fallen by 62 per cent since 1999 Overall number of working-aged New Zealanders on benefits is down to 292,000 – 21 per cent fewer than in 1999 and the first time the figure has been below 300,000 in 16 years Unemployment Benefit numbers have fallen by more than 20,200 over the past year and now stand at less than 55,000 – the lowest figure in nearly 20 years In total there are more than 85,000 fewer people on the Unemployment Benefit than there were five years ago There are now around 98,112 sole parents on the DPB - over 3,000 fewer than a year ago and nearly 6,000 fewer than in December 1999

"The huge drop in numbers on the Unemployment Benefit has saved tax payers more than $1.2 billion since 1999," Steve Maharey said.

"As unemployment has dropped over the last few years the government has been able to shift its focus to areas such as the long-term unemployed and the growing number of sickness and invalids beneficiaries."

Steve Maharey said the figures also confirmed the huge fall in Unemployment Benefits had resulted from people moving into jobs, not onto Sickness Benefits as the National Party had suggested.

"Since 1999, fewer than 7 percent of people moving off Unemployment Benefits went onto a Sickness Benefit."

Further details are available at

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