THE number of people on the Covid-19 unemployment payment has fallen below half a million as retail workers make up the biggest portion of those returning to work.
There are now 498,700 people on the pandemic payment, down 18,900 on the 517,600 who were paid last week.
There are also 225,600 people on standard jobseeker payments.
In addition, 400,000 employees are being supported by a government wage subsidy scheme.
Since phase one of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business, 108,000 employees have closed their claims and returned to work.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said the numbers receiving the pandemic unemployment payment continue to gradually decline, with the total now dropping below the 500,000 mark.
She said only a few short weeks ago, there were approximately 600,000 receiving the payment.
“So some progress has been made but it is also clear that the return to a new normal will be gradual and incremental,” she said.
She said this is why the payment has been extended into August.
The minister said her department will develop a number of options for Government to consider before the scheme’s projected end in August.
She said it would monitor the rate of the economy’s reopening, the continuing need for income support and the developing health situation.
The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are the wholesale and retail trade and motor repairs, in which 7,700 went back in work.
A further 5,300 have returned to work in the construction sector and 2,500 have returned to their jobs in manufacturing.
A further 2,400 employees are returning to work in the accommodation and food service industries.
The biggest portion of those going back to work are between 35 and 44.
Last week, 33,000 people closed their claim for the pandemic unemployment payment of which 27,600 reported that they were returning to work.
Of those 27,600 returning to work, approximately 21,900 are receiving their last payment this week.
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