06 April 2022
Go to release: Monthly Unemployment March 2022
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (06 April 2022) issued Monthly Unemployment Estimates results in respect of March 2022. Please note that as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme has ceased, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment, previously published in Table A1 of the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release and PxStat series MUM02, is no longer available. This alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment was published for the reference months March 2020 until February 2022.
Commenting on today’s publication, John Mullane, Statistician said:
“The seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for March 2022 was 5.5%, up from a rate of 5.2% in February 2022 and down from 7.7% in March 2021. In March 2022, the seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate was 5.3% for males and 5.8% for females. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 12.3%, while it was 4.4% for those aged 25 to 74 years.
As the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme has ceased, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment (previously published in Table A1 and PxStat series MUM02) is no longer available in the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release.
The alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment was present from reference months March 2020 until February 2022.”
The PUP was administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). It was initially closed to new applicants from 08 July 2021. Under the Economic Recovery Plan, there was also 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 PUP scheme ended on 25 March 2022.
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. This alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment was published for reference months March 2020 until February 2022.
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 assumed that all those who were in receipt of the PUP would be classified as Employed for the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment and considered 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 was unlikely to hold for all recipients when the scheme ended given that some recipients had been in receipt of the PUP for more than one year.
While it was 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 have resulted in a lower rate. Thus, the CSO decided to continue with the previous methodology for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment. It is important for users to note that it was a short-term measure and designed to give upper bound rates.
This approach preserved 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 Estimates March 2022 for more details).
It should be noted that the DSP, where applicable, paid 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 were included in the week of the entitlement period, rather than the week of payment.
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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