COVID-19 continued to have a significant impact on the labour market last month, new CSO figures show.
While the standard measure of monthly unemployment was 5.8% in January – unchanged from December – the COVID-19 adjusted measure could be as high as 25% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are classified as unemployed, the CSO has said.
The 5.8% for January 2021 is up from 5.1% in January 2020.
The seasonally adjusted number of those unemployed was 142,200 in January 2021, compared with 140,900 in December 2020 – a seasonally-adjusted annual increase of 15,900.
Last month, the unemployed rate was 6% for males and 5.6% for females.
For those aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate was 15.7% in January, while it was 4.6% for those from 25-74 years.
Breaking the results down by broad age group, the new COVID-19 adjusted measure of unemployment is 56.4% for those 15-24 and 21.4% for those from 25 to 74 years.
However, it is estimated that at least 8% of PUP recipients are attending full-time education during the current academic year.
For those over 25, this could be as low as 1.2%, while it is at least 33% for those aged under 25.
If the PUP scheme did not exist, full-time students would not be eligible to receive unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit.
The DSP has also been paying arrears to PUP recipients, to take into account the movement of people in and out of employment. The main arrears payment occurred on 1 December 2020.
Statistician Catalina Gonzalez said: “The COVID-19 income supports were originally set up as short-term emergency income supports, but they have been extended several times and there have been changes made in terms of the eligibility criteria and how they are being administered.
“While the PUP and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) were both expected to cease in August 2020, the PUP is now scheduled to continue into 2021 while the TWSS was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from 1 September 2020.”