The latest benefit stats are a mixed bag. That'll be why they haven't made the news. Not a lot to criticise and not a lot to crow about.
For instance, over the year to September 2016, "... the number of recipients of Jobseeker Support increased by 1,383, or 1.1 percent."
The rise is nearly all female; Maori and Pacific.
The drop in sole parents numbers is quite substantial - "....the number of recipients of Sole Parent Support decreased by 3,515, or 5.2 percent."
But (given the nature of the rise in Jobseeker numbers) I suspect that some of this reduction will actually be a transfer of older sole parents onto Jobseeker as their youngest child turns 14.
Regarding the last main benefit, "...the number of recipients of Supported Living Payment remained relatively stable, decreasing by 593, or 0.6 percent."
For many years the numbers on an invalid benefit only grew so even stability is an improvement.
HOWEVER, the upward trend in people receiving a Supported Living Payment for a psychological or psychiatric condition continues. A further 765 were added over the year.
There was a marked increase in Pacific people becoming dependent on this benefit and the age group with the largest growth was 25-39 years.
Overall, "...the number of main benefit recipients decreased by 3,292, or 1.1 percent."
At this rate (assuming a static population) it will only take around 69 years to get back to a level where only 2 percent of the working age population is reliant on a benefit - the sort of level that was normal until the 1970s!
Needles and Pins – The Searchers (1964)
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