Not Looking for Work: The Rise of Non-Jobseekers on Unemployment Benefit - Andrew Baker


Following the Global Financial Crisis, the Commonwealth government introduced policies that eliminated the job search requirements for some people on unemployment benefits, including Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance.

As a result of these policies, the government turned tens of thousands of people classified as ‘jobseekers’ into ‘non-jobseekers’ by pushing them into education and training. Jobseekers have job search requirements while non-jobseekers do not.

In July 2009 there were 427,500 jobseekers and 183,500 non-jobseekers. Just three years later the number of jobseekers fell 22% to 332,000 and the number of non-jobseekers increased by 62% to more than 300,000. There are now approximately 375,000 non-jobseekers receiving unemployment benefits.

By pushing tens of thousands of people who would otherwise be looking for work into education and training, the government potentially reduced Australia’s unemployment rate.

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