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Press Statement


05 March 2021

Live Register February 2021 and COVID-19 Income Support Payment Measures

Total number of persons on the Live Register or Pandemic Unemployment Payment decreased by 0.4% to 654,545 over the month to February 2021
  • Unadjusted Live Register total stands at 186,702 for February 2021
  • Seasonally adjusted Live Register total for February 2021 was 188,500, down 2,800 from January 2021
  • In the last week of February 2021, 468,847 persons were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
  • The number of people in receipt of the PUP decreased by 4,758 for the week ending 28 February 2021
  • Of the 468,847 persons in receipt of the PUP for the week ending 28 February 2021, 55.0% were male, 71.4% were Irish and almost a quarter were in each of the 25-34-year-old (22.1%) and 35-44-year-old (22.8%) age groups

Go to release: Live Register February 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (05 March 2021) issued results from the Live Register in respect of February 2021. Today’s release also includes details regarding the COVID-19 income support schemes.

Commenting on today’s publication, Catalina Gonzalez, CSO Statistician, said:

“The unadjusted Live Register total for February 2021 is 186,702. When seasonal effects are considered, the seasonally adjusted Live Register total for February 2021 was 188,500 which was a decrease of 2,800 from January 2021.

Outside of the traditional Live Register, in the last week of February 2021, 468,847 people were in receipt of the PUP.

As Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (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 February 2021 is not available at this time.”

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

“The Department of Social Protection (DSP) have supplied supplementary information on whether PUP recipients were in full-time education when asked to certify their status on the service. While it should be noted that this information is not complete, it is estimated that at least 8.1% of all recipients of PUP since March 2020 were attending full-time education at the time of certification. For those aged 25 years and over this could be as low as 1.3% while it is at least 33.1% 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 and so would not be included on the Live Register.

It should be noted that DSP has been paying arrears to recipients of the PUP, to take account of the movement of people in and out of employment. The main arrears payment occurred on 01 December 2020. All arrears paid to date are now included in the week of the entitlement period, rather than the week of payment.

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 468,847 persons in receipt of the PUP for the week ending 28 February 2021, 55.0% are male, 71.4% are Irish, and almost a quarter are in each of the 25-34-year-old (22.1%) and 35-44-year-old (22.8%) age groups. It can also be noted that 849,429 people have received at least one payment since the scheme was established in March 2020, of which 56.1% are male and 47.6% 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 decreased in each of the last three weeks, after seven weeks of increase following the most recent restrictions imposed on 30 December 2020.”

Editor's Note:

In the last week of February 2021, 468,847 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 the 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 February 2021 in the traditional way and provide details of COVID-19 income support payments (see CSO PxStat series LRW01 to LRW12 separately. 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.


For further information:

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



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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