Social Development minister Carmel Sepuloni says beneficiary figures need to be looked at in perspective.
About 15,000 more people are on main benefits for the year to September, compared with the year before.
Sepuloni says the unemployment rate is at its lowest in over a decade.
"There is softening in some sectors and what we're also seeing with low unemployment is that we've got more employers who need skilled workers, which is why we are putting such a focus on upskilling and training."
Sepuloni says population growth is another part of the puzzle.