Almost half of adult population says their job has been affected by Covid-19

CSO figures detail employment and emotional impact of crisis

Almost half the population aged over 15 years (47 per cent) have had their employment circumstances altered by Covid-19, according to a special report from Central Statistics Office (CSO). And more than a third (34 per cent) of these are now working remotely from home.

To assess the impact of Covid-19 on people's lives, the CSO added some additional questions to its latest Labour Force Survey, which was carried out just as the virus hit Ireland.

Of those whose employment situation has been affected, 14 per cent said they had lost their jobs, while 33 per cent said they had been temporarily laid off.

The employment impact was higher for younger workers, with 46 per cent of 15- to 24- year-olds laid off.

Some 4 per cent of those whose work was affected said they had had to take paid leave, but almost double that amount ( 7 per cent) reported having to take unpaid leave.

The figures also suggest that an overwhelming majority (94 per cent) of people who have lost their jobs, were temporarily laid off or are on leave (paid or unpaid) expect to return to the same job.

The employment impact of the crisis was most keenly felt in the 35- to 44-year age group, where two-thirds reported employment effects.

Some 24 per cent of this age cohort also reported having childcare issues, and a similar percentage reported having difficulties in working from home with family around.

The least affected groups in terms of employment were the 15-24 years and 65 and over categories.

The emotional toll of the pandemic was also reflected in the figures, with 17 per cent of people admitting to being worried about money, while 24 per cent admitted to feeling lonely.

More than a quarter ( 26 per cent) said they were afraid to go shopping for fear of contracting the virus. People aged 65 years and over were the most afraid to go shopping (41 per cent).

Family time

The emotional impacts were not all negative, however. The pandemic has seen 46 per cent of the population aged 15 years and over increasing positive family time, with 59 per cent of the population reporting increased contact with family via telephone, Skype, Facetime or other platforms.

The CSO compiled the questions on its own initiative and added them as a special module to the Labour Force Survey for quarter two, 2020. The CSO said the aim was “ to provide insight into the effects of Covid-19 on people’s employment situation and their general wellbeing”.

Data were based on a survey of 2,288 people aged 15 years and over, gathered from April 8th to April 23rd through telephone interviews.

Commenting on the data, CSO statistician Sinead Bracken said: "Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been many changes to employment and day-to-day life for the people of Ireland.

“This publication analyses changes to work/employment, emotional wellbeing, effect on finances, and the impact on families for the Irish population aged 15 years and over.”

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist