02 February 2022
Go to release: Monthly Unemployment January 2022
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (02 February 2022) issued Monthly Unemployment Estimates results in respect of January 2022.
Commenting on today’s publication, John Mullane, Statistician said:
“The COVID-19 crisis has continued to have an impact on the labour market in Ireland in January 2022. While the seasonally adjusted standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.3% in January 2022, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate of 7.8% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) were classified as unemployed. This alternative measure is up from a rate of 7.4% in December 2021 and down from 27.1% in January 2021.
The alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment estimates the share of the labour force in January 2022 not working due to unemployment or who were out of work due to COVID-19 and receiving the PUP. When comparing the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment in different months, users should consider the impact of Government restrictions on the number of people in receipt of the PUP.
The seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for January 2022 using standard methodology was 5.3%, up from a rate of 5.2% in December 2021 and down from 7.0% in January 2021. In January 2022, the seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate was 5.1% for males and 5.4% for females. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 13.0% while it was 4.0% for those aged 25 to 74 years.
If all claimants of the PUP were classified as unemployed, this COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 7.8% for all persons, with a rate of 8.2% for males and 7.4% for females. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 14.3% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 6.9% for those aged 25 to 74 years.”
The PUP is administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and was closed to new applicants from 08 July 2021. Under the Economic Recovery Plan, there has also been a gradual reduction in rates from 07 September 2021 while the process of possible transition of PUP recipients to a jobseeker’s payment began on 26 October 2021. The scheme reopened for individuals, including the self-employed, who lost their employment between 07 December 2021 and 22 January 2022 following the introduction of COVID-19 related public health restrictions. The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from 01 September 2020 and is currently expected to continue until 30 April 2022. There are some EWSS claims for July and August 2020 in respect of newly hired or seasonally hired employees who were ineligible for the TWSS. Both the TWSS and the EWSS schemes have been administered by the Revenue Commissioners who have provided TWSS and EWSS data to the CSO for statistical purposes and dissemination to users.
The CSO first published the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment in April 2020 as part of the March 2020 Monthly Unemployment Estimates release. 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 TWSS and later the EWSS, having a connection 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 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 measure 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 of Monthly Unemployment and considers them as Unemployed for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment. This assumption would have held in March 2020 when those who started benefitting from the PUP scheme were required to have lost income from employment to be eligible to receive the payment. The assumption is unlikely to hold now for all recipients given that some recipients have been in receipt of the PUP for more than 12 months.
While it is not possible to ascertain how those in receipt of the PUP would be classified in terms of official labour market status based on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions for employment and unemployment, any changes to the methodology for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment would result in a lower rate. 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 give upper bound rates.
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 labour market - March 2020 and the updated Technical Note for Monthly Unemployment and COVID-19 Adjusted Estimates August 2020 for more details).
The CSO will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 income support schemes to determine whether any changes are required to the methodology for the traditional or COVID-19 Adjusted Estimates of Unemployment. 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.
It should be noted that the DSP has been paying arrears to recipients of the PUP, to take into account the movement of people in and out of employment. The first arrears payment occurred on 01 December 2020. All PUP arrears paid to date are included in the week of the entitlement period, rather than the week of payment. The COVID-19 Adjusted Estimates of Unemployment published today have been calculated using the latest information available.
John Mullane, Labour Market Analysis - (+353) 85 862 2676
Martina O'Callaghan (+353) 21 453 5491
or email email@example.com
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