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Jobless rate soars to 16.5pc as shock of virus hits home

David Chance


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No work: The temporary closure of so many businesses is costing the economy dearly. Picture: Frank McGrath

No work: The temporary closure of so many businesses is costing the economy dearly. Picture: Frank McGrath

No work: The temporary closure of so many businesses is costing the economy dearly. Picture: Frank McGrath

If anything was going to drive the pandemic shock home, it was going to be unemployment numbers. They came out yesterday and put the mass unemployment of the financial crisis in perspective.

Close to one-third of a million people are dependent on the State as the spread of coronavirus closed businesses and forced workers to stay at home, bringing the unemployment rate to an eye-watering 16.5pc of the workforce.

That number has grown far more rapidly than expected and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has pencilled in 600,000 job losses as the likely lower end compared with an earlier estimate of 400,000 layoffs.