Thursday, February 27, 2020

Just 7 percent of Jobseeker beneficiaries had part-time work at year end

One explanation for why Jobseeker numbers continue to climb despite the unemployment rate staying low might be part-time employment.

An individual can receive a Jobseeker benefit if they are working part-time. So under the OIA I asked MSD how many Jobseeker recipients had part-time jobs. I have graphed the data they supplied:

Only 7.3% of Jobseeker beneficiaries had a part-time job at December 31 - 5.2% of Maori and 9.4 percent of NZ European.

But this is point-in-time data and doesn't tell me about seasonal workers for example. MSD fact sheets once gave the percentage of beneficiaries who had earnings for the prior year.

Though obsolete it'd be useful to look at one of those fact sheets. The last to record this info was December 2012 - pre-welfare reforms. Of those on the old unemployment benefit:
12 percent had a current earnings declaration for their current spell on benefit. This indicates some participation in paid work (during the last 12 months) while receiving a main benefit.
Not a great deal higher.

Blog followers will know I have been particularly intrigued by the mismatch between low unemployed but high Jobseeker numbers for Maori.

Given all of the above I am still stumped as to why over 58,000 Maori are receiving a jobseeker benefit while fewer than 30,000 are unemployed.

(To be continued)

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