Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Unemployment Data

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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230. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which he anticipates further reduction in unemployment levels as the curtailment of Covid-19 increases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44635/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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In recent months, the level of employment in the economy has been closely correlated to the level of Public Health restrictions in place at a given time.

An analysis of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) data, for example, shows a very clear relationship between restrictions on certain sectors of the economy and the numbers previously employed in those sectors who are now claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The data from the most recent period of Level 5 restrictions presents that picture very clearly.

During the recent Level 5 restrictions three sectors - Accommodation and Food Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade and Other Sectors - accounted for 54% of the almost 333,000 PUP claimants as of November 3rd. These numbers represented an increase of 113% from when restrictions on indoor dining were first imposed.

We have seen further evidence of this correlation as the number of PUP claimants declined over the last two weeks as public health restrictions were eased. The level of PUP claimants have fallen from 352,000 prior to the easing of the current restrictions to 306,000 as at the 15th of December.

However, whilst numbers claiming the PUP have fallen with the easing of restrictions, not all sectors have demonstrated this relationship.

Some sectors such as Administrative and Support Services, Manufacturing and Construction have been largely unaffected by the easing and re-imposition of public health restrictions in the second half of the year. This indicates there is a worrying core of people who were employed in these sectors and whose jobs have not yet returned.

In addition the sectors that have gained most from the relaxing of current restrictions such as Hospitality and Retail, have not seen employment numbers recover to those seen last September.

Therefore, to see a continued increased in employment, it will require the continued suppression of Covid-19 to allow for public health restrictions to be eased further. Once we achieve that goal, I believe the numbers returning to employment will increase further.


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