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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 Technical Note on Monthly Unemployment Estimates and COVID-19 that was published alongside the August 2020 Monthly Unemployment Estimate release. For more information please also see the Press Statement Monthly Unemployment September 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

September 2020

Seasonally Adjusted FiguresNon Seasonally Adjusted Figures
 Number of persons unemployed Unemployment rate (%)Traditional Unemployment rate (%) COVID-19 Adjusted Unemployment rate (%)
September 2019117,000 4.8- -
August 2020121,100 5.25.7 15.3
September 2020126,200 5.45.4 14.7
  Percentage PointsPercentage Points  
Change in month5,100 0.2- 0.3 - 0.6
Change in year9,200  0.6- -

Monthly Unemployment: COVID-19 crisis continues to impact labour market in September 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 September 2020. While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.4% in September 2020, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate as high as 14.7% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) were classified as unemployed.

The application of the standard methodology gives a seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate of 5.4% for September 2020, up from 5.2% in August 2020 and up from 4.8% in September 2019. The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 126,200 in September 2020, compared to 121,100 in August 2020. When compared to September 2019, there was an annual increase of 9,200 in the seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed.  In September 2020, the Monthly Unemployment Rate was 5.4% for both males and females, 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 18.9% in September 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 published alongside the August 2020 release which outlines minor changes made to the methodology used for results presented in this release following analysis of recent recipient and non-recipient claims in the Live Register Series.

As well as the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates for September 2020, this release also presents an alternative COVID-19 adjusted unemployment measure to estimate the share of the labour force in September 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 September 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 14.5% for females in September 2020. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment is 36.5% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 12.0% for those aged 25 to 74 years. See Table A1.

The CSO first published the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment in April 2020 as part of the Monthly Unemployment Estimates release for March 2020. 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, having an attachment 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 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (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 for unemployment.

This COVID-19 adjusted measure assumes that all those who are in receipt of the PUP would be classified as Employed for the standard measure on Monthly Unemployment and considers them as Unemployed for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment. This assumption would have held back in March when those who started benefitting from the scheme were required to have lost income from employment to be eligible to receive the payment. The assumption is unlikely to hold now given that the scheme has been extended and some recipients would now be in receipt of it for more than six months.


While, it is not possible to ascertain how those in receipt of the PUP in September would be classified in terms of official labour market status, any changes to the methodology for the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment would result in a lower rate than the current methodology. Information is not currently available to establish the labour market status of those who are currently in receipt of the PUP. 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 is designed to be an upper bound.

The CSO will continue to evaluate the Live Register series as well as the current and any new income support schemes to determine whether any additional changes are required to the methodology for the traditional or COVID-19 adjusted estimates. 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.


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.



This is an audio file with a 21-second quote from CSO statistician with the Labour Market Division, Catalina Gonzalez, about the Monthly Unemployment September 2020 release.
Media outlets have permission to use the clip as long as they credit the CSO.

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
 November23,00015,20038,200 14.911.613.4
 December22,70015,10037,800 14.711.413.2
2019January21,80014,50036,300 14.210.712.6
 February21,70014,40036,100 14.310.412.4
 March22,90014,60037,500 15.110.512.9
 April23,90015,00038,900 16.010.813.5
 May24,50015,40039,900 16.411.113.8
 July22,80015,30038,100 14.911.113.1
 August21,10014,80035,900 13.810.712.3
 September19,60014,40034,000 12.910.311.7
 October17,20014,20031,300 11.59.910.7
 November17,50014,10031,600 11.69.810.7
 December19,10014,70033,800 12.310.011.2
2020January22,70014,90037,600 13.810.011.9
 February22,30015,00037,300 13.610.212.0
 March21,10016,00037,100 13.611.612.6
 April17,40016,60034,000 12.813.513.1
 May15,40018,20033,700 12.515.814.1
 June15,20021,10036,300 13.218.715.9
 July16,50023,50040,000 13.920.517.1
 August17,50024,00041,500 14.420.717.5
 September20,50025,50046,000 16.421.618.9
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
September 2020Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)68,68556,942125,627
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)187,056155,713342,769 14.814.514.7
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)20,68226,04946,731 15.721.518.5
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)44,65947,62492,283 34.039.336.5
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,00330,89378,896
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)142,397108,089250,486 12.611.412.0
August 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)69,28763,315132,602
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)186,852170,706357,558 14.815.915.3
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)20,51729,44949,966 15.523.819.5
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)44,42351,87296,295 33.742.037.7
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,77033,86682,636
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)142,429118,834261,263 12.612.612.6
July 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)67,65165,037132,688
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)213,688193,578407,266
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)19,39330,19249,585 15.224.419.7
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)48,86657,795106,661 38.346.742.4
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,25834,84583,103
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)164,822135,783300,605 14.614.414.5
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
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 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 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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