The number of New Zealanders claiming a benefit has jumped by more than 1600 in a month but the government says the figure is down by 7500 since last year.
Beneficiary numbers grew by 1615 during September to reach 320,942, up from 319,327 in August.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says last September there were 328,496 getting a benefit.
The latest figures show 50,390 people are on the dole, an increase of 0.2 per cent on the previous month.
There were 139 fewer people receiving the domestic purposes benefit than a month earlier and the number on benefits in Canterbury had dropped 12.6 per cent since the same time last year to 27,456.
"It's pleasing to see sole parents moving off benefits and continued improvements in the Canterbury jobs market," said Ms Bennett.