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Covid unemployment rates fell in September but ‘significant impact’ remains

29 Sep 2020

Despite the fall in pandemic-related unemployment this month, the CSO said Covid-19 continues to have a ‘significant impact’ on the Irish labour market.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published unemployment rates for the month of September. Since August, the Covid-adjusted unemployment rate has dropped from 15.3pc to 14.7pc. Despite this drop, the CSO said that Covid has “continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland”.

When those on Covid-19 payments are excluded from the figures, the CSO said the unemployment rate rose to 5.4pc in September from 5.2pc in August and from 4.8pc in September 2019.

The CSO estimates unemployment rates through the Live Register, which counts the number of claims registered for Government supports such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit. The Covid-adjusted unemployment rate includes Live Register figures and claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. It does not include people availing of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

This month’s unemployment rates were equal for men and women. The unadjusted figures showed that the unemployment rate was highest in those aged 15 to 24 (18.9pc) and much lower for those aged 25 to 74 (3.8pc).

Looking at the Covid-adjusted figures, the unemployment rate was 36.5pc for those aged between 15 and 24, and 12pc for those between 25 and 74.

Jack Kennedy, economist at jobs site Indeed, said that Ireland’s labour market recovery “has been impressive” since April’s unemployment rate of more than 28pc. But we shouldn’t get complacent, he warned.

“While the continued decline is a welcome sign, the Covid-adjusted rate still stands at 14.7pc, almost 10pc higher than the standard rate this time last year,” he said, adding that upcoming Budget decisions will be “pivotal”.

“We are seeing a ‘K-shaped recovery’, whereby those in better financial positions are less impacted than those less well off. This strongly correlates to those who can work from home.”

According to Kennedy, the resilience of certain sectors – such as pharma and technology – has helped “soften the shock to the economy”. However, SMEs will likely need better support as they employ most of the Irish workforce.

Kennedy also said that job ads on Indeed were down 33pc on last year. “However, this marks the sixth consecutive week of improvements,” he said. “Looking at the sectoral breakdown, the strongest improvement in the job postings trend over the past month was in personal care and home health.”

Other areas that saw improvements included community and social service, childcare and security. Insurance and education and training saw the biggest drops.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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