On June 5th, 2020 the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the Live Register for May. There were 225,662 people on the Live Register in May 2020, an increase of 35,795 on the same month last year. The CSO notes that there were 543,164 people were on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), a decrease of 58,943 on April, 2020. While there were 436,344 people on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), a small decrease on the revised figure of 436,925 for April.
At Tuesday’s, June 2nd COVID-19 briefing by the Department of An Taoiseach, they noted that there were 543,000 people on PUP and 508,100 on TWSS. As Ireland moves through the five phases outlined in the Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business it is possible that the numbers on PUP will continue to decline, while the numbers on TWSS could possibly increase. The on-going public health requirements, and in particular social distancing, will make it very difficult for some businesses and organisations to re-open their front doors and keep them open. To that end it will be really important that any changes to these unemployment and employment supports happen on a phased basis; and that unemployed people are given good advice and guidance to manage their current situation and plan for a better future.
Looking at these figures from an age perspective, young people account for 13% of those on the Live Register, 21% of those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, and 13% of those on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). While from a gender perspective, women account for 45% of the Live Register, 45% of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, and 40% of the TWSS.
In Table A1 in the Live Register release information is provided on the numbers of people ‘availing of Activation Programmes’. These figures always lag a month behind, and so in April 2020 there were 56,443 participants, an increase of 5,360 on the same month last year. Over the year the numbers of people participating on employment programmes decreased by 10% to 30,397; while, the numbers of people participating on education and training programmes increased by 52% to 26,046 participants. The largest programme continues to be Community Employment, with 21,098 participants. The next biggest programme is SOLAS Full-time Training for Unemployed People, with 16,699 participants: the highest number recorded in the CSO’s data base, which runs from January 2007 to April 2020.