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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Sam Boal/ Fine Gael's Regina Doherty said that the government would keep supporting people who are out of work.

Tourism, food and construction worst-hit by Covid-19 job losses

Social protection minister Regina Doherty said she would hope construction workers would be returning to work soon.

THE TOURISM, FOOD and retail sectors have all experienced the highest level of job losses because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

The report, compiled by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, shows that the construction industry has also been badly hit since the start of the crisis. As of 24 April, 80% of construction workers were receiving state support. 

Currently, 1.1 million people are receiving some form of state support – the largest monthly increase in unemployment in the history of the state.  

The figures show that around 92% of staff in the accommodation and food sectors were either receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or were on the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme. 

The report says that the worst-hit group are “young, low-skilled, female and part-time”. 

“Lessons from the 2008 financial crisis in Ireland shows that this may adversely affect the employment prospects of these cohorts once the containment measures are rolled back”, the report states. 

It also warns that early indications suggest that younger people are likely to be detrimentally impacted by the crisis. 

“Given that those workers most affected by the initial waves of employment loss from the PUP [pandemic unemployment payment] data were younger workers, it may be likely that unemployment could remain relatively high for this group over coming years,” the report says. 

The report also says that some “form of transitional supports” for smaller firms will be needed as Ireland enters the recovery phase of the pandemic. 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland programme this morning, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said she hoped to see some people, such as construction workers, return to work and come off the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the weeks to come as Ireland’s Covid-19 recovery plan begins. 

“There will be other industries that won’t be as lucky,” she said. 

However, Doherty said that Covid-19 employment schemes were not sustainable in the long-term. While she declined to give a date to when such schemes will be extended until, Doherty said it “would be odd if we removed those resources before people to back to work”.

“What we need to do over the coming weeks is to recognise how we support people in the short term, until they get back to work, and how we support people in the longer term to get back to work”, Doherty said. 

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