11 Sep 2009

Benefit numbers rise

5:42 pm on 11 September 2009

The number of New Zealanders on the unemployment benefit rose to 59,151 in August.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the average number of New Zealanders joining the unemployment benefit each week has slowed from a high of 1300 two months ago to about 900.

Ms Bennett says although there will be ups and downs over the coming months, the situation does seem to be improving.

However, she says it is good to see the numbers joining the unemployment benefit each week coming down, compared with earlier in the year.

Overall, the total number of people on all benefits has increased to 323,160.

Of this number, 106,640 are on the domestic purposes benefit, 84,902 are on the invalid's benefit and 55,913 are on the sickness benefit.

Meanwhile, the Social Development Ministry confirmed on Friday that 55 staff have chosen to take redundancy after their roles were cut.