CSO defers publishing monthly jobless numbers

Agency says it is currently assessing impact of Government’s income support scheme


The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has deferred the publication of its monthly unemployment numbers, which are expected to show a major jump in the jobless rate as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.

The agency said it was “currently assessing” the implications of the Covid-19 income support measures on the compilation of its figures.

The Government last week unveiled an income support scheme to pay 70 per cent of the wages, capped at €410 per week, of workers made redundant as a result of the crisis.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) forecasts that up to 350,000 people could lose their jobs, a sixth of the working population.

It warned the labour market was set to face the largest shock in a single quarter in living memory – with the unemployment rate soaring to 18 per cent in the second quarter of this year, up from 4.8 per cent – almost full employment - in the previous quarter.

Up to 120,000 bar and restaurant staff have already being laid-off in the hospitality sector as a result of the shutdown, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

The CSO said it intends to publish the Live Register for March as scheduled on Thursday this week.

“This release will include information on the various schemes which have been put in place to deal with loss of income for those affected by Covid-19,” it said, adding the statistical treatment of these schemes is currently being assessed and will be clearly outlined in the Live Register release

The number of benefit claimants on the Live Register fell to another 12-year low in February, with an additional 1,400 coming off the register. But this looks like being one of last snapshots of the labour market here before the impact of the coronavirus.