Over 500,000 on Live Register or in receipt of Covid-19 related support – CSO
2 April 2020
The number of individuals in receipt of social welfare income support surpassed half a million at the end of March, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Figures show that 283,000 people were in receipt of Covid-19 related unemployment payments or wage subsidies at the end of the month. Additionally, the number of those on the Live Register saw a significant jump – rising from 24,400 in February to 207,200 in March.
Commenting on the CSO data, Pawel Adrjan, economist at Indeed said: “Were the 283,000 people who are now in receipt of the emergency Pandemic Unemployment Payment and 25,000 on the Wage Subsidy scheme added to the Live Register it would be over 513,000, higher than at the peak in the economic crisis in 2011.”
Research from Indeed shows that Ireland has experienced a 32% year-on-year reduction in online job postings. The company observed that this drop is larger than was seen in Italy.
Young people have been hit particularly hard by the labour market downturn. At 23%, the share of under 25s in receipt of Pandemic Unemployment Payment is twice as large as that age group’s share of the Live Register.
While layoffs and salary reductions have been commonplace in recent weeks, Adrjan noted that some sectors are looking to hire. “Employers in the medical equipment, healthcare and the grocery sector are all actively hiring as they seek to respond to a surge in demand created by the emergency.
“There has also been a surge in people seeking remote working opportunities since containment measures were taken. Searches for remote work rose 158% between February and March as jobseekers sought opportunities that would allow them to earn an income whilst working from home.
“The impact of Covid-19 on the labour market is severe and is likely to get worse in future months,” said Adrjan, “now that the virus has brought most sectors of the economy to a halt and severely dented consumer and business confidence.”
Adrjan added that the extent of the impact will depend on “how effective the measures announced last week by the government to pay a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of workers take home pay to impacted businesses.
“The broad suite of economic supports introduced by the government aims to help businesses sustain employment until things improve and is amongst the most substantial in the EU, but it won’t protect all jobs.”