Job vacancies and card payments have plummeted, study finds

Jobs with lowest work-from-home potential such as beauty and hospitality hit hardest

Job vacancies in the Republic have fallen by a third as coronavirus-hit businesses scale back recruitment, a study by the Central Bank and recruitment website Indeed has shown.

Separate research also shows a massive reduction in spending and ATM withdrawals in late March and early April on foot of tougher social-distancing rules and retail closures.

If the current level of spending and ATM withdrawals were to continue for the remainder of April 2020, it is estimated that overall card spending and cash withdrawals would be €2.6 billion (or 40 per cent) lower than in April 2019, it said.

Utilising data from the Indeed website, the Central Bank’s job vacancy study assessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labour market here and elsewhere, and which sectors were most affected.


It found that job postings on the site – as of April 3rd this month – were almost a third below those observed in previous years.

Job opportunities were “falling fastest” in occupations that were directly exposed to the restrictive measures, such as beauty and wellness (down 80 per cent) and hospitality and tourism (down 76 per cent).

Countries with a higher share of employment in these occupations – such as the Republic and the UK – have seen some of the largest declines in online job postings on Indeed, the study said.

It found that postings had generally fallen 30-40 per cent in countries with a higher proportion of employment in occupations with “lower work-from-home potential”.

These included the Republic, the UK, Portugal, Spain, Canada and Australia – where the percentage of employment in such occupations was about 50-60 per cent, it said.

"Job postings have fallen everywhere. However, our research shows that not all countries or industries are equally affected," said Pawel Adrjan, economist with Indeed.

Card spending

A separate research paper from the Central Bank found spending activity on credit and debit cards initially increased by 790,000 additional transactions, or 22 per cent, compared with the previous 11 days, in early part of March when the virus first hit these shores.

At the time supermarkets reported bulk-buying on foot of the Government’s initial moves to restrict movement.

However, the research found the value of both card spending and ATM withdrawals declined rapidly from the middle of the month when the first spike in cases of the virus began to be reported.

By the time the stay-at-home order was announced by the Government on March 27th, the value of card spending had already declined by more than a fifth since the first week of March, while the value of ATM withdrawals was down more than 40 per cent.

This pattern has continued into April.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times