The extraordinary impact of Covid-19 on the jobs market

Smart Money: The situation is unprecedented and much remains unclear

Politically, one of the striking figures in the CSO survey is that just 8 per cent of those laid off in quarter two and who are now on the PUP do not expect to return to their previous employment. Photograph: iStock

Politically, one of the striking figures in the CSO survey is that just 8 per cent of those laid off in quarter two and who are now on the PUP do not expect to return to their previous employment. Photograph: iStock

Quarterly jobs figures are usually one of the best ways of taking the pulse of the economy. While the latest figures have been complicated hugely by the impact of Covid-19, they are quite simply extraordinary and do give a clear indication of how jobs are being hit, who is being affected – and what may happen next. In a simply unprecedented situation, much remains unclear. But here is what we know so far.

1. If you want to look at just one figure ...

The jobs figures are hard to interpret. This is not the fault of the Central Statistics Office, which has to follow international conventions. So somebody on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is still classified as employed if they expect to return to work in the next quarter. The CSO has had to improvise, publishing a set of figures in line with the international rules and another trying to take account of the Covid-19 impact.

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