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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Catalina Gonzalez (+353) 87 646 7535 Martina O'Callaghan (+353) 21 453 5491
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-8456

This release was compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic. For further information on the methodology applied in this release see the updated Technical Note on Monthly Unemployment Estimates and COVID-19 that is being published alongside this release today. For more information please also see the Press Statement Monthly Unemployment August 2020 and the Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates.

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Monthly Unemployment

August 2020

Seasonally Adjusted FiguresNon Seasonally Adjusted Figures
 Number of persons unemployed Unemployment rate (%)Traditional Unemployment rate (%) COVID-19 Adjusted Unemployment rate (%)
August 2019119,800 4.9- -
July 2020118,600 5.15.8 17.6
August 2020121,200 5.25.8 15.4
  Percentage PointsPercentage Points  
Change in month2,600 0.1 0.4 - 2.2
Change in year1,400  0.3- -

COVID-19 crisis continues to impact labour market in August 2020

Figure 1 Monthly Unemployment  rate seasonally adjusted
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The COVID-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in August 2020. While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.2% in August 2020, a new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate as high as 15.4% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) were classified as unemployed.

The application of the standard methodology for Monthly Unemployment, shows a seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for August 2020 of 5.2%, up from 5.1% in July 2020 and up from 4.9% in August 2019. The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 121,200 in August 2020, compared to 118,600 in July 2020. When compared to August 2019, there was an annual increase of 1,400 in the seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed. In August 2020 the Monthly Unemployment Rate for males and females were 5.1% and 5.3% respectively, see Table 1(a).

Breaking the results down by broad age group, the traditional Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 17.5% in August 2020, while it was 3.8% for those aged 25 to 74 years, see Tables 1(b) and 1(c).

The methodology for the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates involves forecasting the number of persons who are unemployed using the trend in the Live Register. Please see Technical Note relating to minor changes to the methodology used for the results presented in this release following analysis conducted of recent recipient and non-recipient claims in the Live Register Series.

As well as the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates for August 2020, this release also presents an alternative COVID-19 adjusted unemployment measure to estimate the share of the labour force in August 2020 that were not working due to unemployment or who were out of work due to COVID-19 and receiving the PUP. These estimates are presented in Table A1.

The lower bound of Monthly Unemployment rates and volumes presented in Table A1 are the non-seasonally adjusted estimates for August 2020 based on the standard Methodology. These lower bounds are based on the assumption that none of those in receipt of the PUP would have been classified as unemployed if the payment did not exist.

If all claimants of the PUP were classified as unemployed, the upper bound, or COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 14.8% for males and 16.1% for females in August 2020. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment is 37.8% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 12.6% for those aged 25 to 74 years. See Table A1.

The COVID-19 income supports were originally set up as short-term emergency income supports but they have been extended several times and there have been changes made in terms of the eligibility criteria and how they are being administered. While the PUP and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) were both expected, until recently, to cease in August 2020, the latest announcements have indicated that the PUP is expected to continue into 2021 while the TWSS has been replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from 01 September 2020.

The CSO will continue to evaluate the Live Register series, the current and any new income support schemes to determine whether any additional changes are required to the methodology for our traditional or COVID-19 adjusted estimates. Any changes we may make to the methodology in the future will be clearly outlined to users in the statistical release and accompanying material.

Data in this release are subject to revision, caused by updates to the seasonally adjusted series, whenever new monthly data are added. In addition, it should be noted that larger revisions can occur when the most recent Labour Force Survey (LFS) data are included in the calculation process. 

For further information on COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment, please refer to our Technical Note (updated for August 2020) and Information Note.


Table 1a Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - All persons aged 15-74 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
Table 1b Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - persons aged 15-24 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
2018August22,60017,50040,100 15.212.413.9
 September23,10017,00040,000 15.312.213.8
 November23,20015,30038,500 15.011.613.4
 December22,90015,10038,000 14.811.413.2
2019January21,80014,40036,200 14.210.612.5
 February21,90014,30036,300 14.410.412.5
 March23,10014,80037,900 15.210.613.0
 April23,80015,20039,000 15.910.913.5
 June23,60015,50039,100 15.711.213.6
 July22,50014,90037,500 14.811.013.0
 August21,30014,40035,700 14.010.612.4
 September20,00014,30034,300 13.110.311.8
 October17,50014,30031,800 11.710.010.9
 November17,70014,40032,100 11.79.910.8
 December19,30014,80034,100 12.410.011.2
2020January22,80014,80037,600 13.89.911.9
 February22,60014,90037,500 13.810.212.1
 March21,30016,30037,600 13.711.712.7
 April17,30017,00034,300 12.713.613.1
 June14,70021,10035,700 12.818.715.7
 July16,10023,20039,300 13.620.517.0
 August17,50023,70041,200 14.420.917.5
Table 1c Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - persons aged 25-74 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
Table A1 Covid-19 Adjusted Monthly Unemployment Estimates classified by sex and age group
   Number of persons out of work1 Monthly Unemployment Rate %1
Month  MalesFemalesTotal MalesFemalesTotal
August 2020Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)69,03265,300134,332
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)186,597172,691359,288 14.816.115.4
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)20,26630,34450,610 15.424.419.7
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)44,17252,76796,939 33.542.437.8
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,76634,95683,722
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)142,425119,924262,349 12.612.712.6
July 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)67,55966,141133,700
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)213,596194,682408,278
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)19,30230,62649,928 15.124.719.8
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)48,77558,229107,004 38.246.942.5
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,25735,51583,772
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)164,821136,453301,274 14.614.514.5
June 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)65,93158,951124,882
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)291,026272,789563,815 23.325.824.5
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)18,42627,75346,179 15.422.919.2
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)64,60577,597142,202
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)47,50531,19878,703
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)226,421195,192421,613 20.120.820.4
May 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)64,64653,287117,933
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)361,004300,093661,097 28.728.228.5
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)18,00122,67740,678 14.618.916.7
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)75,81679,848155,664 61.366.563.9
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)46,64530,61077,255
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)285,188220,245505,433 25.223.424.4
1 Not seasonally adjusted
2 Revised

Background Notes


The purpose of this release is to provide a detailed series of monthly unemployment estimates. The release contains both monthly unemployment rates and monthly unemployment volumes. 

Calculation of Monthly Estimates

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) provides benchmark estimates of employment and unemployment fsor 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 a particular calendar quarter is equal to the corresponding LFS estimate.

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.

Seasonal Adjustment

To correct for typical seasonal patterns, the data series included have been 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 series for monthly unemployment rates are likewise created from these component series.

Seasonally adjusting the Monthly Unemployment series during the Covid-19 crisis period will be challenging until the scale and shape of its impact on the time series is better understood. This initial seasonally adjusted result might be revised for some months ahead as future observations become available. Users should be aware that there is increased uncertainty around the seasonally adjusted figures during this period.

Additional Background Information

Further information regarding the LFS and Live Register series are available from each respective release.

Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Live Register

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