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A range of measures were introduced by the Government to provide income support for those whose employment was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme was administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP), while the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), which replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) in September 2020, is currently being administered by the Revenue Commissioners. The EWSS is expected to continue until 30 April 2022.

While they were in place, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) worked to identify the detail available from the different sources and how the different schemes should be classified for statistical purposes. The March 2020 technical note was originally written to outline how those benefitting from the schemes were being treated for the purposes of the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release. The July 2020 technical note was updated for publication alongside the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release, and the August 2020 technical note was updated to reference a minor methodological change that was made.

As the PUP scheme has ceased, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment (previously published in Table A1 and PxStat series MUM02) is no longer applicable to the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release. This alternative COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment was present from reference months March 2020 until February 2022. The measure estimated the share of the labour force that were not working due to unemployment, or due to COVID-19 related absences.

This updated technical note (published on 06 April 2022) outlines how the ending of the PUP scheme will impact the March 2022 Monthly Unemployment release.

PUP recipients moving to the Live Register

The Live Register is not a measure of unemployment but rather is a count of the number of claims registered for Jobseekers Benefit (JB) Jobseekers Allowance (JA) or credited contributions.

The Live Register can be considered as consisting of recipients, where a claim has been awarded and the person is in receipt of a payment or credited PRSI contributions, and non-recipients, where the person is not in receipt of a payment.

Some persons, who were previously in receipt of the PUP, are now entitled to receive Live Register payments. At the time of publishing this update to the Technical Note, it is not possible to determine yet if these ‘PUP transition’ Live Register recipients will similarly affect the quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

The Monthly Unemployment Series is a seasonally adjusted series and, as always, is subject to revision when more information becomes available, namely the Q1 2022 LFS benchmarks.

Calculation of standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates

The LFS is the official source of labour market statistics for Ireland including the official rates of employment and unemployment. The LFS provides benchmark estimates of employment and unemployment for each quarter since the beginning of 1998. These quarterly benchmark estimates are then used to compile monthly data using the Proportional Denton method. The main characteristic of this method is that the monthly Live Register series is used as an indicator to disaggregate the quarterly LFS unemployment series into a monthly series in such a way as to minimise the differences between two consecutive months. It also ensures that the average of three months in each calendar quarter is equal to the corresponding LFS estimate for that quarter.

For months where the quarterly unemployment data is not yet available, the ratio of the LFS monthly estimate to the Live Register monthly estimate (i.e. the benchmark to indicator ratio) is forecast forward in order to extrapolate a monthly LFS estimate. This approach adheres to agreed international practice.

Traditionally the total of the Live Register series has been used in the methodological steps outlined above for the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release. The CSO decided to use only the recipient element of the Live Register series (available from January 2012 to August 2020) in the calculations for August 2020 Monthly Unemployment Estimates release onwards.

To correct for typical seasonal patterns, the data series included in the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates release are concurrently seasonally adjusted. This seasonal adjustment is completed by applying the X-12-ARIMA model, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the case of these Monthly Unemployment estimates, seasonal adjustment is conducted using the indirect approach, where each individual series is independently adjusted.  To preserve consistency between the individual and aggregate series, the series for gender, age group and total monthly unemployed are then created from these component series. The different series of Monthly Unemployment rates are likewise created from these component series.

The CSO will continue to engage with users around all releases and users can contact for further information or clarification in relation to the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release if required.


CSO publication, 06 April 2022.