ESRI Survey and Statistical Report Series

Managing mass unemployment flows during the COVID-19 pandemic

This report has been peer reviewed prior to publication. The authors are solely responsible for the content and the views expressed.

July 31, 2020
Attachment Size
Download PDF 1.34 MB

As an immediate consequence of the COVID-19 health pandemic, Ireland’s standard seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went from 4.8% in February 2020 to an estimated peak of 28.2% in April when those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are included. Since then, the Central Statistics Office’s COVID-19 adjusted measure of unemployment has fallen gradually from 28.2% to stand at 22.5% in June 2020. Due to COVID-19, Ireland’s Public Employment Services (PES) are likely facing substantial constraints arising from the rapid increase in jobseeker claimants qualifying for, and/or seeking, their employment supports. Furthermore, when the PUP scheme is closed at the end of March 2021 it is expected that PES will have to transfer a large number of individuals from the emergency PUP to the Live Register. These circumstances create a huge administrative burden that will stretch Ireland’s PES. In this study, we use a combination of administrative and Labour Force Survey (LFS) data to both analyse the distribution of COVID-19-related unemployment and propose a process that will help Ireland’s PES identify new PUP claimants likely to be at the greatest risk of subsequently falling into long-term unemployment. The approach is designed to help ensure that limited PES resources can be targeted towards high-risk PUP claimants qualifying for, and/or seeking, employment supports.