CSO admits error on unemployment data for July and pulls release from website

State body apologises for error and plans to issue corrected data next week

The Central Statistics Office has said it made an error in the montly unemployment estimates for July that were published on Thursday, and has pulled the release from its website.

The CSO plans to issue a corrected version on August 9th. “The Labour Market and Earnings team in the CSO would like to apologise to all of our users for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the CSO said in a note on Thursdayevening.

It said the input data used in the release “incorrectly included the total Live Register series data for July 2021 instead of the recipient only Live Register series data”.

The CSO release had said that the State’s Covid-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 14.4 per cent in July, hitting a pandemic low as restrictions placed on the hospitality sector continued to loosen.


The figures showed the rate declined from 16.2 per cent in June as the hospitality sector reopened after months of closure.

The adjusted unemployment rate includes those still claiming the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP).

Although outdoor facilities returned in June, indoor dining and hospitality did not reopen until July 26th, after being delayed for three weeks while the impact of the Delta variant was assessed.

There are still limitations on who can avail of indoor services: only those customers who have been fully vaccinated or have other proof of immunity from Covid-19 can eat or drink indoors, although under-18s are permitted with a fully-vaccinated adult.

CSO statistician John Mullane said the Covid-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland.

“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,” he said in the release.

Unemployment among those aged 15 to 24 years old fell from 44 per cent in June to 31.7 per cent last month, while the rate for those over 25 years of age was 11.5 per cent, according to the release.

The figures showed more than 8 per cent of PUP recipients were also in full-time education. “For those aged 25 years and over this could be as low as 1.4 per cent, while it is at least 34.6 for those aged under 25 years,” Mr Mullane added.

“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.

Wage subsidy scheme

The standard seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate, which does not include PUP recipients, was put at 7.4 per cent for the month, up from 6.8 per cent the previous month and 6.7 per cent a year earlier. The figures did not include those benefiting from the employment wage subsidy scheme.

The younger age group was disproportionately impacted, with the rate of unemployment among those aged 15 to 24 years old at 20.3 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent for 25 and over, according to the release that has been removed by the CSO.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist