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21/09/2021

Unemployment up despite easing of Covid-19 restrictions as PUP changes impact

Official figures reveal traditional unemployment rate rose this summer with PUP winddown

Last day for new PUP entrants as Donegal numbers now at 7,255

From July 8 PUP closed to new applications

The number of people out of work has grown this summer despite the easing of restrictions and is also higher than at the same time last year according to the latest official figures.

The Central Statistics Office figures also reveal that the the unemployment rate would be doubled if the many thousands on the Pandemic Unemployment Rate at the end of July was included.

The CSO reports that the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate for July 2021 was 14.4% for all persons including those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

There is also a sign in the figures that changes to the PUP which would have resulted some people losing the payment may be pushing up the traditional unemployment figure.

The seasonally adjusted figures show that, excluding PUP claimants, there were 195,700 people out of work in Ireland at the end of July giving an unemployment rate of 7.4%. The equivalent number in June 170,400. The same number in July 2020 was 157,800 given rate of 7.5%.

The raw unadjusted unemployment rate including PUP claimants in July 2020 was 19.1%. It had dropped to 16.2% in June this year and fell to 14.4% at the end of July 2021

PUP claimants had until Tuesday, July 21 to confirm their continued eligibility for this payment with the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Anyone who did not do so faced having the PUP payment stopped. The PUP closed to new applicants from July 8. 2021.

In a statement the CSO said the pandemic is still being felt.

"The COVID-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in July 2021...When comparing the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment in different months, users should consider the impact of Government restrictions on the number of people in receipt of the PUP," it said..

It adds that breaking the results down by broad age group, the traditional Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 20.3% in July 2021, while it was 5.5% for those aged 25 to 74 years.

Commenting further on the COVID-19 Adjusted Measures of Unemployment, John Mullane continued:

“The Department of Social Protection (DSP) have supplied supplementary information on whether PUP recipients were in full-time education when asked to certify their status online on the MyWelfare.ie service. While it should be noted that this information is not complete, it is estimated that at least 8.1% of all recipients of the PUP were attending full-time education at the time of certification. For those aged 25 years and over this could be as low as 1.4% while it is at least 34.6% for those aged under 25 years. 

This analysis indicates that caution needs to be exercised when interpreting the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment particularly for those aged under 25 years. If the PUP scheme did not exist, those persons, being in full-time education, would not be eligible to receive Unemployment Assistance or Unemployment Benefit and so would not be included in the methodology to estimate the traditional measure of monthly unemployment,” he said.

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