Percentage may rise further once Covid-19 payments for April are factored in

Unemployment rate has more than trebled

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Update issued on social welfare Covid-19 payments

The CSO has published two estimates of the Monthly Unemployment rate for March 2020 to take into account the impact of the Covid-19 crisis to the labour market. The first estimate is based on the standard methodology and puts the monthly unemployment rate at 5.4%, up from 4.8% in February 2020.
However, the Covid-19 adjusted Monthly Unemployment rate for March 2020 is estimated to be 16.5% by the CSO.
This is based on Adjusted Monthly Unemployment measure that assumes that all 283,000 people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment at the end of March who would have been classified as unemployed if the emergency payment did not exist.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty emphasised: “The Covid-19 influenced unemployment rate really demonstrates the unique nature of the challenge we face. Looking at the upper estimate, the rate has more than trebled in a month and the 16.5% measured today is the highest Monthly Unemployment rate in the CSO series dating back to 1998.
“This percentage may rise further once this month’s recipients of a Covid-19 payment are factored into the April data.
“This once in a century level of activity was reflected in the fact that my Department dealt with three years of activity within the last month alone and I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of all the department’s employees in meeting such a historic challenge.
“Despite today’s stark figures, we must remember this is a temporary health emergency and we must ensure that it is also a temporary employment emergency for as many people as possible. I am pleased to see increasing numbers of employers are availing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme and keeping their employees on their books.
“This, along with the other business support measures being provided, will help many businesses ‘switch on’ rapidly when the health restrictions are lifted. I believe that the Irish people - with the Government’s support and resources - have the resolve to overcome the challenges thrown at us and we will get Ireland back working again.”
Minister Doherty also commented on the recent ESRI Analysis which provided a first view of the distributional impact of Covid-19 measures announced by the Government in an effort to provide rapid income support and to support the economy.
“The study by the ESRI emphasises the work our existing social welfare system does to cushion the impact of a crisis such as this, even before the new measures were put in place in response to the crisis.
“In particular, the report emphasises that a mixture of our recent measures with existing supports will help to almost fully insulate the lowest 40% of earners from any income loss during the current emergency.
“ This is a testimony to the robust nature of our existing supports and the speedy response to the Covid-19 crisis,” she concluded.