Little change in benefit numbers
Unemployment benefits were largely stable last week, despite almost 100,000 workers coming off the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme. Data from the Ministry of Social Development shows the jobs supported by the scheme and its extensions fell from 217,912 to 120,176 in the week to September 18. Since the scheme’s launch in March, $14 billion has been paid out. In May, the subsidy peaked at 1.66 million workers. An additional 1498 people went on to Jobseeker Support last week, taking the total to 202,274 or about 6.7 per cent of the working age population. Covid-19 income relief payments fell by 1663 to 14,573 last week. This payment of $490 a week – about twice the Jobseeker Support base rate – is for fulltime workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.