Numbers on pandemic unemployment pay fall to new low

Minister says 202,000 people receiving PUP this week, lowest level since scheme began

The biggest fall in numbers receiving the PUP was in the accommodation and food services sector. Photograph: Andy Gibson.

The biggest fall in numbers receiving the PUP was in the accommodation and food services sector. Photograph: Andy Gibson.

 

The number of people receiving the special pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) has fallen to its lowest level since March 2020, the month it was introduced, new official figures show.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said just over 202,000 people would receive the payment this week. She said more than 8,800 people had closed their claims for the special payment in the past seven days as they were returning to work.

The 202,152 people still receiving the payment are in addition to the 175,281 people who were on the live register at the end of June.

Her department said there had been a decrease of 9,695 in the number of people receiving the payment this week compared to last week. The largest reduction, of more than 3,000 recipients, was in the accommodation and food services sector.

“The overall number of people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment is at its lowest level since the early part of March, 2020,” Ms Humphreys said.

Peak

At its peak, there were close to 600,000 people receiving the payment in April/May last year.

“As we go into August, I anticipate further falls in the overall numbers, partly due to the expected reopening of indoor hospitality,” the Minister said.

The Department of Social Protection is asking recipients of the benefit to confirm their continued eligibility by Tuesday, July 27th.

“Failure to confirm continued eligibility may result in the pandemic unemployment payment being stopped,” it said.

The department said the age cohort experiencing the greatest fall in numbers on the payment was the under-25 age group, with 42,308 now receiving benefit compared with 45,881 last week.

Dublin continues to be the county with the highest number of recipients at 75,178, followed by Cork (17,970) and Galway (10,706).

The sector accounting for the greatest number on the PUP remains accommodation and food service activities (47,640), followed by wholesale and retail trade (30,876) and administrative and support service activities (22,393).