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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Live Register

December 2020

 Live Register TotalSeasonally AdjustedPandemic Unemployment Payment
December 2019181,996185,400-
November 2020194,058203,100351,424
December 2020189,860193,700335,599
Change in month -9,400- 15,825
Change in year +7,864 -

The total number of persons on the Live Register or Pandemic Unemployment Payment decreased by 3.4% to 517,347 over the month to December 2020

Live Register Seasonally Adjusted
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A range of measures were introduced by the Government to provide income support for those whose employment has been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland. The available schemes are being administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and the Revenue Commissioners. See our Infographic.

At the end of December 2020, 335,599 of those whose income from employment has been affected due to COVID-19 were being facilitated through the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) which is administered by the DSP. The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) on 01 September 2020. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has not yet disseminated EWSS data but will continue to work with the Revenue Commissioners to make this available to users as soon as possible. See Annex Table A2.

The CSO has worked to identify the detail available from the different sources and how the different schemes should be classified for statistical purposes. There is some overlap between those who meet the criteria to be included on the Live Register and those who are benefitting from the COVID-19 income support schemes. These overlaps occur due to the different frequency of the payments, and the fact that some persons who are included on the Live Register may not be receiving a payment and so might be benefitting from either the PUP or the TWSS.  Once EWSS data is available we will include it in Table A2 in similar manner.

As users will be aware, the Live Register is a series which is available back to 1967 on the CSO’s PxStat tabular data service. The Live Register series is of immense historical value and the CSO is keen to protect the continuity of the series, while also trying to make as much information as possible available to users, charting the labour market effects of COVID-19.

The CSO published an information note on 01 April 2020 for users on the implications of the COVID-19 income support measures on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates releases. That information note is available here: Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates. The information note outlines why those in receipt of the COVID-19 income support payments are not included on the Live Register unless they meet the usual criteria to be included on the Live Register.

The unadjusted number of persons on the Live Register for each month since March 2020 may include a small number of applicants for the PUP who were advised to apply for jobseekers benefit if they have a dependant adult and at least one child, or four or more children in the case of no dependant adult.

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 TWSS were both expected, until recently, to cease in August, the latest announcements have indicated that the PUP is expected to continue into 2021 while the TWSS has been replaced by the EWSS from 01 September 2020.

A review of non-recipient Live Register claims is ongoing at the DSP and relates primarily to cases where a person who was in receipt of the PUP has since closed their PUP claim and reported a return to employment. This will impact the Live Register totals, as some of these non-recipient jobseeker claims were included on the Live Register, but their jobseeker claims were not automatically closed at that time.  Please see the Technical Note published by the CSO alongside the Live Register release for August 2020 for more information including an analysis of Live Register components based on their recipient status. A table providing a breakdown of Live Register claimants since January 2019 by recipient and non-recipient status is also available in Annex Table A3 at the end of this Live Register release today, while the corresponding series from January 2012 onwards is also available on PxStat.

The Live Register for December 2020 has been compiled in the traditional way and the usual tables are included below. The CSO will continue to evaluate the available income support schemes and the results of the recipient and non-recipient analysis of the Live Register to determine whether any changes are required to the methodology for the Live Register to improve the usability of the series. In the meantime, caution needs to be exercised when assessing monthly changes. Any changes the CSO may make to the Live Register methodology in the future will be clearly outlined to users in the Live Register release and accompanying material.

The detailed commentary usually provided on the Live Register tables has not been included here but can be made available to users on request to

The Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment.  It includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA).  Unemployment is measured by the Labour Force Survey.

The Monthly Unemployment Rate (seasonally adjusted) is published in the Monthly Unemployment release.  

The unadjusted Live Register total for December 2020 was 189,860 persons; this consisted of 106,152 males (55.9%) and 83,708 females (44.1%). Of those on the Live Register for December 2020, 21,001 or 11.1%, are under 25 years of age, while 168,859, or 88.9%, are 25 years of age and over. See Table 1a.

On an adjusted basis, the number of male and female claimants on the Live Register were 106,700 and 87,000 representing 55.1% and 44.9% of the seasonally adjusted Live Register total respectively. See Table 2a.

A total of 335,599 persons were in receipt of the PUP for the last week of December 2020; this consisted of 171,555 males (51.1%) and 164,044 females (48.9%). Of those claiming the PUP, 83,722 or 24.9%, are under 25 years of age, while 251,877 or 75.1%, are 25 years of age and over. See Table A2.

A total of 517,347 persons were either on the Live Register or were benefitting from the PUP in December. This compares to 535,786 in the month of November 2020.

The CSO has been working with and will continue to collaborate with both the DSP and the Revenue Commissioners to meet user needs for availability of detailed aggregates for the recipients of both the PUP and the TWSS/ EWSS respectively. Tables providing breakdowns of the numbers benefitting from the PUP and the TWSS and the numbers of persons on the Live Register for each week since March 2020 by sex, age group, county and nationality grouping are available at the following link: PxStat LRW Tables. This link also contains tables for the corresponding numbers included on the Live Register for each week as well as a total number of persons with overlaps removed who are either on the Live Register for each week or who were benefitting from either the PUP or the TWSS up to 31 August 2020. As already mentioned, the CSO has not yet disseminated EWSS data but will continue to work with the Revenue Commissioners to make this data available to users as soon as possible. The final update to the number of persons benefitting from the TWSS is included in the PxStat tables linked above and in Table A2 of this release. No further TWSS updates will be provided given that the TWSS scheme is now closed.

The CSO has also been working with the DSP to obtain additional data which captures the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. Using the online service, information has been captured on whether recipients of the PUP were a full-time student either at second-level or third-level for the current academic year. As most recipients have used this online service to either apply for a PUP or to self-certify their details to continue receiving the payment, analysis of the online information provided shows that at least 7.2% of PUP recipients have self-certified as being registered as a full-time student. For those aged 25 years and over this could be as low as 2.0% and over while it is at least 22.9% for those aged under 25 years, and therefore would not be included in the Live Register.

The Labour Market Analysis area of the CSO are compiling a mailing list of users who wish to register their interest in being kept informed of Labour Market related updates from the CSO. These email updates will include advising users of any updates to the aggregate tables available at the link above. If you wish to be included in this mailing list, please email and register your email address for inclusion on the mailing list.

Annex - Activation Programmes

Data up to the end of November 2020 on the number of persons availing of a range of programmes targeted primarily at the long-term unemployed (over 12 months) and other welfare recipients is provided in the Annex Table A1 – Number of persons availing of Activation Programmes table.

There were 40,836 persons availing of these programmes in November 2020, which is a decrease of 7,834 persons (-16.1%) from the previous year, when there were 48,670 persons in activation programmes. 

Persons on activation programmes are not counted as part of the monthly Live Register.