Republic of Ireland news

More than 1.36m people in Republic have received Covid-19 income support – CSO

Cate McCurry, PA

More than 1.36 million people had received one or more of the Government’s Covid-19 income supports by June this year, data shows.

The number of people left without work peaked in April last year, when Ireland hit an unemployment rate of 31.5% when the Dublin government brought in widespread restrictions.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on the Republic based on its statistics.

Figures show that before the pandemic hit, the highest number of people in employment in the Republic was recorded in quarter four of 2019, when more than 2.36 million people were in employment and the Republic had an unemployment rate of 4.5%.

Public health measures introduced in March 2020 to control the spread of the virus saw the Covid-19 adjusted rate of unemployment peak at 31.5% in April 2020, before falling back to just under 16% in September 2020.

The reintroduction of restrictions in the new year saw it rise again to more than 27% in January 2021.

The easing of restrictions over the course of this year has seen this unemployment rate fall back to 12.4% in August 2021.

Those who were displaced from their job due to the pandemic were more likely to be younger, lower skilled and in part-time positions than the population average.

While employment levels declined by 116,600 people from the beginning of January last year to January 2021, the CSO said that a more striking illustration of the impact of the virus on the labour market is that there were almost 7.6 million fewer hours worked per week in the same period.

This almost 10% reduction in hours worked was most pronounced in the hospitality, construction and other service activities sectors which include culture and recreation.

From April until June this year, 17% of all active employments were directly supported by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), but this was as high as 76% for the hospitality and food services sector.

In the first three months of the year, households saved more than €10 billion – more than four times the amount usually saved in the first quarter of the year.

The CSO estimates that approximately €14 billion of government spending in 2020 was directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures also show that revenues in 2020 were €3.6 billion lower than in 2019, largely due to the restrictions in place over the course of the year.

The main driver of the decline was indirect taxes – reduced VAT receipts and the waiver of commercial rates leading to a reduction of 3.3 billion euro in revenues.

Meanwhile, figures also show that based on mortality data reported to the Department of Health, there have been more than 5,000 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland over the last 18 months, with more than 1,000 of those deaths occurring in the first four weeks of this year.

The number of deaths increased by 890 from 8,674 to 9,564 at the start of the year, compared with the same period in 2020.

There were 1,846 deaths due to Covid-19, accounting for almost one-fifth or around 19% of all deaths in the first three months of the year, of which 995 were male and 851 were female.

The CSO also produced figures which show that residential property prices, houses and apartments, increased by 6.9% nationally in the year to June, and this compares with an increase of 5.4% in the year to May and no change in the 12 months to June 2020.

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Republic of Ireland news