Numbers claiming pandemic unemployment payment falls to lowest level

Figure receiving the payment is now below 200,000, Minister says

The number of people receiving the special Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment has fallen to its lowest level

The number of people receiving the special Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment has fallen to its lowest level

 

The number of people receiving the special Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment has fallen to its lowest level since the scheme was introduced in March of last year.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said on Wednesday that for the first time since its introduction the number of people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment had fallen below the 200,000 mark.

The Department of Social Protection said this week 192,296 people would receive the pandemic unemployment payment, a decrease of over 9,800 on the figure recorded last week.

However, the number of peole reciving the separate Covid-19 enhanced illness payment has increased in the last week from 1,435 to 1,642 .

The Minister said: “As indoor hospitality reopens safely, I expect the number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment to fall further in the coming weeks as they return to the workplace.”

Ms Humphreys said there were over 481,000 people relying on the pandemic unemployment payment in early February of this year – the last time the virus reached a peak.

“That number has now fallen by around 60 per cent – clearly demonstrating the progress we are making in reopening our economy and getting our citizens back to work.”

The number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment are in addition to the 175,281 people who were on the Live Register at the end of June.

The Department of Social Protection said that overall more than €8.3 billion has been paid out in pandemic unemployment payments since the scheme was introduced last year.

The Department of Social Protection said the areas that recorded the largest reductions in numbers receiving the pandemic unemployment last week were the accommodation and food-service sector, where almost 3,000 people closed their claim, followed by wholesale and retail trade and construction with a reduction of more than 1,400 and 900, respectively, compared to last week.

“The greatest decrease continues to be in the under-25 age group with 39,144 receiving the pandemic unemployment payment compared with 42,308 last week.”

Dublin continues to be the county with the highest number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment this week at 71,981. It is followed by Cork (17,053) and Galway (10,159).

The sector with the highest number of people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment is accommodation and food service activities (44,678) followed by wholesale and retail trade (29,440) and administrative and support service activities (21,457), the Department of Social Protection said.