UPDATE: More than 1.1 million people in receipt of social welfare unemployment supports

The largest monthly increase in the unemployment rate in the history of the State

More than 1.1 million people are in receipt of social welfare unemployment supports

Sectors most severely impacted by Covid-19 are tourism, hospitality and food services, retail and construction

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty has announced the publication of a Working Paper on the initial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on Ireland’s labour market.

The Working Paper was prepared by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in collaboration with the Central Bank of Ireland for consideration by the Labour Market Advisory Council.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the essential public health measures to contain the spread of the virus, saw the largest monthly increase in the unemployment rate in the history of the State.

Currently, more than 1.1 million people are in receipt of social welfare unemployment supports which comprises:

- people on the Live Register;
- people receiving the newly introduced Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP); and
- employers availing of the Covid-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Minister Doherty emphasised: "These income supports were rolled out in a very short period of time and have proven to be effective in insulating people from the worst effects of a sever income and employment shock.

"Now, as the numbers receiving payments begins to plateau, we need to start looking at how we get people back to work and concentrate on post-pandemic planning. Today’s research is part of that work.”

Minister Doherty outlined the purpose of the Working Paper.

“Essentially, the Working Paper uses Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection administrative data to examine disruptions to Ireland’s labour market – including the flows into unemployment – in the weeks since the initial outbreak of the virus in Europe.

“It sheds light on the profile and characteristics of those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and associated restrictions. The demographic and earnings profile of the sectors experiencing the largest share of COVID-19 related unemployment, as well as the financial position of households in the most affected sectors, is also investigated.”

On the basis of jobs lost (or displaced), the most severely impacted sectors are Tourism, Hospitality and Food Services; Retail; and Construction.

Those who have lost their jobs as a result of the impact of Covid-19 are more likely to be young, low-skilled, female and previously in part-time employment.  This reflects the higher share of these workers in the industry sectors most affected (Retail and Hospitality).

An examination of the financial position of households of those previously employed in sectors where the fall in employment has been 25 per cent or more has found that these households have very little savings or income put by to mitigate against economic shocks or financial hardship.

Minister Doherty commented: “The valuable work of the Labour Market Advisory Council and the findings of today’s Working Paper will help inform this Department and the Government for the post-pandemic recovery period, to ensure that Ireland’s labour market will recover quickly and that the thousands of workers displaced can return to work as quickly as possible.”

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