On April 6th, 2021 the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the Live Register and PUP figures for March, 2021. It is over a year ago since the Government introduced the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) to compensate workers whose jobs were put on hold as Ireland sought to address the health crisis that COVID-19 presented.
At the time it was assumed that PUP would be a temporary, short-term payment, but as the extent and persistence of this health pandemic became apparent the duration of the PUP was extended. As a consequence today’s Live Register release also contains data that facilitates an annual comparison of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
There were 183,096 people on the Live Register, a decrease of 22,113 on the same month last year. Looking at the Register from a gender and age perspective: women account for 44% of the Live Register and young people account for 11%.
81,150 people were on the Register for more than a year, 14,185 more people than March, 2020. The last time this figure was 80,000+ was November, 2018. Looking at this part of the Register from a gender and age perspective: women account for 40% of the Live Register and young people account for 9%.
In Table A3 to this release the CSO note that 163,587 people were in receipt of a payment, and 19,509 were not in March 2021: a year ago these figures were 167,854 and 37,355 respectively. The CSO only started to publish this data over the past year as they had noted an increase in the numbers of people signing-on who were not in receipt of a payment. Early on in the COVID-19 crisis a lot of people applied for a Jobseekers payment as well as a PUP, they were advised to do so reflecting the initial assumption that PUP was a short-term temporary payment, and the Jobseekers application process is a more complex one.
In Table A2 the CSO notes that there were 443,247 people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) in March 2021, a decrease of 25,644 on February 2021, but an increase 49,274 on March 2020.
Looking at these figures from an age perspective, young people aged under 25 years account for 24% of PUP recipients. While from a gender perspective, women account for 45% of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. A year ago women accounted for 50.5% of those in receipt of this payment, while young people accounted for 23%.
In Table A1 information is provided on the number of people ‘availing of Activation Programmes’. These figures always lag a month behind. In February 2021, there were an 39,507 participants, 8,955 fewer people than the same month last year. The number of people participating on education and training programmes was 13,183, a decrease of 24% over the year. Over the year the number of people participating on employment programmes decreased by 15% to 26,324. Community Employment remains the biggest programme, with 19,328 participants. The only programme to increase over the year was the Part-time Job Incentive scheme. It is a small scheme with only 228 participants, but this represents a 29% increase on February 2020.