JobSeeker goes to women and older people

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Matt Coughlan
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Older Australians and women have been making up a bigger share of JobSeeker recipients, with people on the unemployment payment long-term also rising.

The Parliamentary Budget Office released new analysis on Wednesday, examining expenditure and demographics of the dole before coronavirus.

The share of recipients aged 45 and older increased from 44 to 56 per cent for women and 34 to 45 per cent for men between 2007 and 2019.

The share of recipients aged 60 and older also increased for both genders, with a larger rise among females.

More people have been on the payment for more than a year, with women experiencing a larger rise.

Between 2007 and 2019, the share of recipients on JobSeeker for one year or more rose from 48 to 71 per cent for women and from 51 to 63 per cent for men.

By June 2019, 24 per cent of female and 20 per cent of male recipients had been on JobSeeker for five or more years.

At the same time, half of women and nearly 40 per cent of men were exempt from job searching requirements.

This was in part due to mutual obligation requirements being met through voluntary or part-time work, as well as illness, incapacity, training or being helped to find a job through disability services.

The report also looks at the surge in JobSeeker recipients due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Between March and May, the number of people on the payment spiked from 793,000 to 1.46 million with men making up a greater share of the increase.

The pandemic-induced growth was higher among young people with recipients aged from 22 to 24 and 25 to 34 doubling.

“Younger people are more likely to be working in industries hardest hit by COVID-19 related restrictions and in casual jobs, some of which would be ineligible for JobKeeper,” the report says.

While the parenting payment had been trending down before coronavirus, the pandemic sparked a significant rise.

People with partners receiving it jumped 36 per cent while singles increased six per cent.

The PBO found the impact on JobSeeker budget spending is likely to be affected by the increasing share of women and older recipients.

The growing reliance on the payment for longer periods and a falling share of recipients with full capacity for work is also likely to impact expenditure.

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