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Press Statement


25 November 2020

Press Statement Earnings and Labour Costs Quarter 2 2020 (Final) Quarter 3 2020 (Preliminary Estimates)

COVID-19 impacts Earnings and Labour Costs Estimates for Quarter 3 2020
  • Significant compositional difference between the labour market in Q3 2020 and previous quarters
  • Average weekly earnings were €797.83 in Q3 2020, an increase of 3.7% from €769.14 in Q3 2019
  • Average hourly earnings increased by 3.9% to €24.44 from €23.53 in Q3 2019
  • Average weekly paid hours decreased 0.3% to 32.6 hours from 32.7 hours in Q3 2019
  • The job vacancy rate at the end of Q3 2020 was 0.8%, up from 0.7% at the end of Q2 2020
  • Largely because of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), average hourly other labour costs decreased 30.8% to €2.61 from €3.77 in Q3 2019

Go to release: Earnings and Labour Costs Q2 2020 (Final) Q3 2020 (Preliminary Estimates)

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (25 November 2020) issued Earnings and Labour Costs results in respect of Final estimates for Q2 2020 and Preliminary estimates for Q3 2020.

Louise Egan, Statistician, CSO, explains the impact of COVID-19 on the results presented today: When considering the change in earnings, it should be noted that there may be a compositional effect due to the significant changes in employment in certain sectors. The composition of the labour market in Q3 2020 was very different to the composition of the labour market in previous quarters including Q3 2019, against which the annual changes are measured, with significantly fewer employments in certain sectors in Q3 2020.’

Explaining the background to the release and outlining the headline results being presented today, Louise Egan continued:

 ‘The Earnings and Labour Costs quarterly release publishes statistics on average weekly and hourly earnings, hours and labour costs. Government measures put in place in response to COVID-19 continued into Q3 2020 for some sectors.

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) continued to support enterprises for July and August in Q3 2020. The scheme ended on 31 August 2020 and was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). While earnings received by employees benefitting from the EWSS scheme are accounted for in ELC Q3 2020 earnings estimates, EWSS refunds in respect of September payroll submissions will be paid by Revenue to eligible enterprises in Q4 2020 and are therefore not recorded in the Q3 2020 labour costs estimates.

Across and within economic sectors the impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to be experienced very differently. Preliminary estimates for Q3 2020 show average hourly earnings increased by 3.9% to €24.44 and average weekly paid hours decreased 0.3% to 32.6 hours from the same period in 2019. Average weekly earnings were €797.83, an increase of 3.7% compared to Q3 2019. The job vacancy rate, which measures job vacancies on the last working day of the quarter, is 0.8%, up from 0.7% at the end of Q2 2020 and down from 0.9% at the end of Q3 2019.’

Referring to a separate Labour Market Bulletin Insight Series also being published by the CSO today (please see the Bulletin), Louise Egan continued:

 ‘Today, the Labour Market and Earnings division in the CSO have also published the fourth bulletin from the Labour Market Insight Series. The data used for the bulletin is sourced from administrative datasets, namely the Revenue Commissioner’s employee level tax data as well as data provided from Revenue in relation to the TWSS.

Analysis presented in the bulletin supports results observed in the Earnings and Labour Costs release in relation to the quarterly changes in employments and earnings at a sectoral level between Q2 2020 and Q3 2020.

Key findings from the bulletin include an increase of 8.4% in the number of active employments in Q3 2020 when compared to Q2 2020. The sectors showing the largest percentage increase in employments from Q2 to Q3 2020 were the Accommodation & food services sector (102%) and the Arts, entertainment, recreation & other service activities sector (47.7%).

Average weekly pay (including TWSS and EWSS where applicable) decreased by 2.7% across all employments between Q2 and Q3 2020. The sectors showing the largest quarterly percentage increase in average weekly pay were the Construction sector (10.2%) and the Education sector (3.3%). The largest quarterly percentage decreases in average weekly pay were seen in the Arts, Entertainment, Recreation & other services sector (-10.4%) and the Financial, insurance & real estate activities sector (-3.6%).

For employments that were active in both Q1 and Q3 average weekly earnings decreased by 3.9% across all employments between Q1 and Q3, with changes by sectors ranging from a decrease of -13.2% in the Administrative & support services sector to an increase of 3.2% in the Construction sector.’

Referring to the ongoing reporting difficulties being faced by enterprises due to COVID-19, Louise Egan explained:

‘Preliminary estimates for Q3 2020 have been negatively impacted due to lower than usual response rates and the inability of some businesses to respond to the survey questionnaire, submit returns or accurately record payments under the TWSS.

The sectors particularly impacted by low rates of survey response were Construction, Transportation & Storage, Accommodation & Food Services and Administrative & Support Services. Caution is therefore advised in relation to the Preliminary estimates published today.’ (Please see the updated Technical Note on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Earnings and Labour Costs release for more information.)


For further information contact:

Louise Egan (+353) 21 453 5951

or email

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