The number of people claiming temporary Covid-related jobless benefits fell by 8% to 285,000 this week, its lowest level since December last year, new figures from the Department of Social Protection show today.
Non-essential retail, hotels and outdoor bars and restaurants have reopened in recent weeks following their closure in late December during a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Today’s figures show that 285,265 people received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, a decrease of over 24,000 on last week.
The Department of Social Protection said it issued weekly payments valued at over €84m to those in receipt of PUP this week.
The sector which saw the largest decrease in the number of people receiving PUP this week was the Accommodation and Food Service with 5,339 fewer people receiving the payment compared to last week.
This was followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade with 4,739 fewer people receiving the payment compared to last week.
Today’s figures show that Dublin was the county with the highest number of people who are receiving PUP this week at 97,189. It is followed by Cork at 27,108 and Galway at 15,684.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said today’s figures are very encouraging as they show another sizeable weekly fall in the number of people receiving the PUP as the economy continues to recover and businesses reopen their doors.
“Almost 200,000 people have now closed their PUP claims since February which clearly shows that as sectors reopen, people are returning to work,” Minister Humphreys said.
“As the PUP is paid a week in arrears, people who are returning to work this week will be reflected in next week’s figures,” she said.
“The reopening of our society and economy is going well. As long as we continue to adhere to public health advice, I am confident we will continue to build on this strong progress over the summer months as more and more people return to work,” the minister added.
The new figures also showed that 892 people are in receipt of an Enhanced Illness Benefit payment, compared with 1,095 last week.
The department again reminded workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment on the actual date that they start back at work.
This will ensure that their claim is processed correctly and it will avoid incurring an overpayment that the department will take steps to recover, it added.