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Press Statement


08 January 2021

Live Register December 2020 and COVID-19 Income Support Payment Measures

The total number of persons on the Live Register or Pandemic Unemployment Payment decreased by 3.4% to 517,347 over the month to December 2020
  • Unadjusted Live Register total stands at 189,860 for December 2020
  • Seasonally adjusted Live Register total for December 2020 was 193,700, down 9,400 from November 2020
  • In the last week of December 2020, 335,599 persons were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
  • The number of people in receipt of the PUP decreased by 43,997 for the week ending 03 January 2021
  • Of the 335,599 persons in receipt of the PUP for the week ending 03 January 2021, 51.1% were male, 69.5% were Irish and almost a quarter were in each of the 25-34 year-old (23.1%) and 35-44 year-old (22.1%) age groups

Go to release: Live Register December 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (08 January 2021) issued results from the Live Register in respect of December 2020. Today’s release also includes details regarding the COVID-19 income support schemes.

Catalina Gonzalez, CSO Statistician, explains the approach taken regarding the publication of today’s Live Register and COVID-19 income supports:

“In the last week of December 2020, 335,599 of those employed whose income has been affected due to COVID-19 benefitted from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) which is administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) has been replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) since the start of September 2020. Both the TWSS and EWSS schemes have been administered by the Revenue Commissioners which have provided TWSS and EWSS data to the CSO for statistical purposes and dissemination to users. The CSO has not yet disseminated EWSS data, but we will continue to work with the Revenue Commissioners to make this available to users as soon as possible.

The income support payments are not captured in the traditional methodology of the Live Register which is a historical series that includes the number of claimants for Jobseekers Benefit and Jobseekers Assistance  (see Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates for more details).

A review of non-recipient Live Register claims is ongoing at the DSP and relates primarily to cases where a person who received a PUP has since closed their PUP claim and reported a return to employment. This will impact the Live Register totals, as some of these non-recipient jobseeker claims were included on the Live Register, but their jobseeker claims were not automatically closed at that time (see the Technical Note published by the CSO to accompany the Live Register, August 2020 release for more information).

The CSO has decided to compile the Live Register data for December 2020 in the traditional way and provide details of COVID-19 income support payments separately (see CSO PxStat series LRW01 to LRW12). An analysis of the Live Register total broken down by recipient and non-recipient claims is available in Annex Table A3 in the Live Register release.

The CSO will continue to evaluate the available income support schemes and the results of the recipient and non-recipient analysis to determine whether any changes are required to the methodology for the Live Register to improve the usability of the series. Any changes the CSO may make to the methodology in the future will be clearly outlined to users in the statistical release and accompanying material.”

Commenting on today’s publication, Catalina Gonzalez continued:

“The unadjusted Live Register total for December 2020 is 189,860. When seasonal effects are considered, the seasonally adjusted Live Register total for December 2020 was 193,700 which was a decrease of 9,400 from November 2020.

Outside of the traditional Live Register, in the last week of December 2020, 335,599 people were in receipt of the PUP.

As EWSS data has not been disseminated by the CSO yet, a total number of persons that were on the Live Register or who benefitted from the COVID-19 income supports (PUP or EWSS) in December 2020 is not available at this time.”

Commenting further on aggregates of the COVID-19 income supports, Catalina Gonzalez continued:

The CSO is working with, and will continue to collaborate with, both DSP and the Revenue Commissioners to meet user needs for availability of detailed aggregates for the COVID-19 income supports.

Using the online service, information has been captured on whether recipients of the PUP were full-time students either at second-level or third-level for the current academic year. As most recipients have used this online service to either apply for a PUP or to self-certify their details to continue receiving the payment, analysis of the online information provided shows that at least 7.2% of PUP recipients have self-certified as being registered as full-time students. For those aged 25 years and over, this could be as low as 2.0% while it is at least 22.9% for those aged under 25 years. If the PUP scheme did not exist, those persons, being in full-time education, would not be eligible to receive Unemployment Assistance or Unemployment Benefit.

Tables providing the breakdowns of the numbers receiving the PUP each week by sex, age group, county and nationality grouping are being made available today (See PxStat).

Looking at this data, of the 335,599 persons in receipt of the PUP for the week ending 03 January 2021, 51.1% are male, 69.5% are Irish, and almost a quarter are in each of the 25-34-year-old (23.1%) and 35-44-year-old (22.1%) age groups. It can also be noted that 785,687 people have received at least one payment since the scheme was established in March 2020, of which 55.7% are male and 47.7% are aged between 25 and 44 years of age. From the weekly breakdown of those receiving the PUP, it can also be seen that the number of those receiving the payment has fluctuated in the last five weeks, mainly due to the changes in the restrictions announced by the Government. As the most recent restrictions were imposed on 30 December 2020, it is expected we will see further changes in the coming weeks.”


Note to Editors


Catalina Gonzalez, Labour Market Analysis - (+353) 87 646 7535



For further information:

Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates

List of CSO Statistical Releases Affected by COVID-19

For further information contact:

Catalina Gonzalez (+353) 21 453 5163

or email

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