Unemployment rate rises to 5.5% in March as Covid-19 scheme closes
New Central Statistics Office figures show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March rose to 5.5% from a rate of 5.2% in February.
The March jobless rate of 5.5% was down from a rate of 7.7% the same month last year.
The CSO said that as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme has ceased, it is no longer measuring the Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment, which had stood at 7% in February.
The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed stood at 146,400 in March, up from 135,200 in February.
When compared to March last year, the CSO said there was an annual decrease of 42,100 in the seasonally adjusted number of people without a job.
Today’s CSO figures show that the unemployment rate in March stood at 5.3% for men and 5.8% for women.
They also reveal that the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 12.3%, while it was 4.4% for those aged between 25 to 74 years.
Commenting on today’s figures, Pawel Adrjan, economist at jobs site Indeed, said the rise in joblessness reflects what is expected to be another temporary pause in the long term downward trend evident for much of last year.
“Forecasts over the longer term are for a continued decline, with an unemployment rate of 5% by 2024 forecast by the Central Bank in its latest quarterly bulletin,” the economist said.
He said that despite Covid-19 still being with us, from a labour market perspective, we have moved into a post-pandemic phase, with the ending by the Government yesterday of any further Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP).
Remaining recipients, if eligible, will now transition to jobseekers’ payments.
“They will do so in a jobs environment that looks broadly positive. Indeed’s data continues to show employers very actively hiring, with the level of Irish job postings on Indeed up 60% at 1 April 2022, compared to 1 February 2020,” Pawel Adrjan said.
“However, the current geopolitical situation has created uncertainty, as noted in the Central Bank’s recent forecast which downgraded their economic growth and employment expectations,” he added.