THERE was a slight drop in unemployment last month but one in four people are still out of work.
The Central Statistics Office reported today that the unemployment rate when those on the pandemic unemployment payment are included stands at 24.8pc
This is a small decrease of just 0.3pc from 25.1pc in January.
Economist at jobs website Indeed, Jack Kennedy, noted that last month marked one year since the first case of Covid-19 and the upheaval that was to come.
“This time last year Ireland was not far off full employment with the unemployment rate standing at 5pc,” he said.
“Today, if we use the Covid adjusted measure, that figure is 24.8pc, an increase no one would have predicted.”
He said it would have been hard to imagine then that most workers would now be successfully working remotely or that some of the most robust sectors, such as hospitality, would be hit so badly.
When Covid claims are not included, the main unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 5.8pc in February.
This was up from 5pc 12 months ago.
Mr Kennedy said the decision by the Government to extend financial supports is a positive move while the announcement of lockdown extensions brings more difficult news,
“These supports have provided a much needed lifeline during this time and are crucial to keep employees connected to the workforce, which will help jump start the economy when businesses reopen,” he said.
“This is particularly important for employees in lower paying, people-facing jobs who have been most affected during this time.”
He said the pandemic has hit the most vulnerable hardest and ensuring they can return to work quickly when safe to do so will avoid them falling into long-term unemployment.