29 September 2020
Go to release: Monthly Unemployment September 2020
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (29 September 2020) issued Monthly Unemployment Estimate results in respect of September 2020.
Catalina Gonzalez, CSO Statistician, explains the approach taken today regarding the publication of the Monthly Unemployment and the COVID-19 Adjusted Unemployment Estimates:
‘The CSO first published the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment in April 2020 as part of the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release for March 2020. At the time, the COVID-19 income supports were set up as temporary measures to protect those who lost income from employment due to COVID-19.
Those benefitting from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), having an attachment to their employer, would continue to be classified as Employed using the internationally agreed criteria for reporting on official labour market status. It was not possible to ascertain how those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) would be classified using the labour market status criteria. Because of this, the CSO established the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment as an upper bound for the true unemployment rate.
This measure assumes that all those who are in receipt of the PUP would be classified as Employed for the standard measure on Monthly Unemployment and considers them as Unemployed for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment. This assumption would have held back in March when those who started benefitting from the scheme were required to have lost income from employment to be eligible to receive the payment. The assumption is unlikely to hold now given that the scheme has been extended and some recipients would now be in receipt of it for more than six months.
While, it is not possible to ascertain how those in receipt of the PUP in September would be classified in terms of official labour market status, any changes to the methodology for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment would result in a lower rate. Information is not currently available to establish the labour market status of those who are currently in receipt of the PUP. Thus, the CSO have decided to continue with the previous methodology for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment. It is important for users to note that it is a short-term measure and designed to be an upper bound and that is still the case now.
This approach preserves the methodology of the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates series while at the same time providing transparency around the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market (see Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates – March 2020 and the updated Technical Note for Monthly Unemployment and COVID-19 Adjusted Estimates – August 2020 for more details).
Commenting on today’s publication, Catalina Gonzalez continued:
‘The COVID-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in September 2020. While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment is 5.4% in September 2020, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate as high as 14.7% if all claimants of the PUP were classified as unemployed.
The Monthly Unemployment Rate for September 2020 using standard methodology is 5.4%, up from 5.2% in August 2020. In September 2020, the Monthly Unemployment Rate for males and females both stood at 5.4%. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years is 18.9% while it is 3.8% for those aged 25 to 74 years.
As well as the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates for September 2020, the CSO have also published an alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment which estimates the share of the labour force in September 2020 that were not working due to unemployment or who were out of work due to COVID-19 and receiving the PUP.
If all claimants of the PUP were classified as unemployed, this COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 14.8% for males and 14.5% for females. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 36.5% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 12.0% for those aged 25 to 74 years.’
Finally, commenting on recent proposed changes to the COVID-19 income supports such as the PUP and the TWSS, Catalina Gonzalez added
'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 TWSS were both expected to cease in August, the latest announcements have indicated that the PUP is expected to continue further into 2021 while the TWSS has been replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from 01 September 2020. The CSO will continue to evaluate the current income support schemes and any new schemes to determine whether any changes are required to the methodology for our traditional or COVID-19 adjusted estimates. Any changes we may make to the methodology in the future will be clearly outlined to users in the statistical release and accompanying material.'
Catalina Gonzalez, Labour Market Analysis - (+353) 87 646 7535
For more information:
See Technical Note - Monthly Unemployment and COVID-19 Adjusted Estimates - updated August 2020
See Information Note - Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates March 2020
Catalina Gonzalez (+353) 21 453 5163
or email email@example.com
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