The number of people in Ireland claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) fell below 200,000 for the first time since the payment was introduced last year after dropping by 5 per cent week-on-week, Government figures show.
Just over 190,000 people received the payment for those that lost their jobs due to the coronavirus lockdown. A further 3,770 people who also closed their claims in recent days will fall off the total next week.
Ministers expects the numbers to keep falling in the coming weeks after ending a seven-month ban on indoor service in pubs and restaurants this week.
The State's unemployment rate stood at 18.3 per cent at the end of June, including recipients of the PUP.
Commenting on this week’s specific PUP figures, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said: “For the first time since its introduction, the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen below the 200,000 mark.
“It also means that the number of PUP recipients is now at its lowest level since the payment was introduced as an emergency measure in March 2020.
“To put this into context, there were over 481,000 people relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in early February of this year – the last time the virus reached a peak.
“That number has now fallen by around 60 per cent - clearly demonstrating the progress we are making in reopening our economy and getting our citizens back to work.”
She added: “As indoor hospitality reopens safely, I expect the number of people receiving PUP to fall further in the coming weeks as they return to the workplace.”