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Covid-19 brought major changes to labour market by end of first quarter, CSO stats show

Employment levels were down to 1.75 million people by the end of April.

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OVER 1.75 MILLION people were in employment in Ireland at the end of April, according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In its quarterly Labour Force Survey, the CSO outlined the impact the pandemic has had on the Irish labour market. 

In the first quarter of this year, 2.35 million people were in employment. Almost 70% of those aged 15-64 were in a job during this time.

At the end of March, with the effects of Covid-19 restrictions, the adjusted measure of employment stood at 2.07 million. By the end of April, this was down to 1.75 million.

114,400 people were registered as unemployed in the first quarter of this year. At the end of April, this stood at 694,683, accounting for losses due to the pandemic. 

The Labour Force Survey is the official source of statistics on the labour market in Ireland. 

Covid-19 labour impact The number of people in employment in the first quarter from 2016 to 2020. Source: CSO

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, said these figures highlight the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. 

“It is clear that the extraordinarily difficult but absolutely necessary measures being taken to save lives and protect public health have had a profound impact on economies and societies all over the world,” he said in a statement.

“Ireland is no exception and our labour market is bearing the brunt.”

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The official seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the first four months of this year was 5%, down from 5.1% in the first quarter of 2019, but up from 4.7% in the last quarter of 2019. 

Donohoe said the Department of Finance is projecting the current unemployment rate to reduce to around 10% by the end of this year, with an average unemployment rate of around 14% during the year. 

Statistician at the CSO, Jim Dalton, reiterated that the pandemic has had a “considerable impact” on the Irish labour market since the end of the first quarter of this year. 

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