State’s unemployment rate falls to 18% as outdoor hospitality reopens

Decision to delay full reopening likely to slow recovery

The youth unemployment rate was put at 44 per cent, one of the highest rates on record. Photograph: iStock

The youth unemployment rate was put at 44 per cent, one of the highest rates on record. Photograph: iStock

 

The State’s Covid-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 18.3 per cent in June, down from 21.9 per cent the previous month, as outdoor hospitality reopened after months of lockdown.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) suggest around 408,000 people remained either out of work or in receipt of the Government’s pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) in June.

The Government has paused the reopening of indoor hospitality services for at least another three weeks until more information about the Delta variant of Covid-19 becomes available.

The delay in the next stage of reopening is expected to slow the pace of recovery.

The youth unemployment rate was put at 44 per cent, one of the highest rates on record. However, it was down considerably on the previous month, when the rate was put at 58 per cent.

The standard measure of unemployment, which does not include PUP recipients, was put at 7.6 per cent.

The figures do not include the near 300,000 people benefiting from the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

Downward trend

“Today’s numbers indicate a further positive downward trend in the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate, which stood at 18.3 per cent in June,” Jack Kennedy, economist at recruitment website Indeed, said.

“This decrease can be attributed to further business reopening and people finally being able to return to their jobs in sectors that have been suspended for months,” he said.

“The leisure and retail sectors opening up more also have the added benefit of giving people the opportunity to spend their discretionary income locally, which hopefully will give a boost to their communities and help stimulate further jobs,” Mr Kennedy said.

“However the worry will remain for those in sectors such as aviation or entertainment that will likely be the last to resume full activity. Similarly, with a delay to the next stage of reopening announced, it’s likely we’ll see recovery slow until it’s safe to recommence the recovery roadmap,” he said.