1 May 2020

Covid-19: Thousands more granted jobseeker benefit in past week

2:12 pm on 1 May 2020

More than 6000 more people have ended up on the benefit in the past week, but the growth in numbers is beginning to slow.

Minisrty of Social Development

Minisrty of Social Development Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

New figures from the Ministry of Social Development show almost 342,000 people are receiving a benefit - just over 11 percent of the working age population.

That was up 1 percent on the beginning of the year.

Most of the increase was people going on to the jobseeker benefit, bringing the total number of people receiving the main unemployment benefit to just over 180,000.

While numbers continue to grow, the rate of increase was showing signs of slowing.

The increase of more than 6000 in the week to 24 April was significantly lower than the week to 27 March - when the alert level 4 lockdown took effect - when more than 10,700 new benefits were granted.

However, the government has previously said it expects unemployment to grow in the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile, the number of food grants handed out by MSD each week has also continued to drop.

It reached a peak a fortnight ago when almost 70,000 food grants were made.

Last week the number was just over 59,000.

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