The number of people claiming the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) has fallen by almost half since it peaked in May, according to the latest figures from the Department of Social Protection.
313,800 people will receive the PUP this week, down from 598,000 on May 5.
This represents a decrease of 31,800 on the 345,600 people paid last week and a decrease of almost 100,000 in the past two weeks.
In the past seven days, 28,700 people have closed their claim for the payment while some 13,100 will be receiving their final payment on Tuesday as the number of people returning to employment increases.
The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles; and Construction.
The largest cohort returning to work is aged between 35 and 44.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said she will be announcing initiatives under the Government’s July stimulus package aimed specifically at enabling people to move back into employment.
She said: “I have been working closely with the officials in my Department and my colleagues in Government on developing a suite of measures that will stimulate the economy and provide supports to businesses.”
313,800 people will receive a #Covid19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week. This is down 31,800 on last week's numbers. Read more in our #COVIDã¼19 payments update here: https://t.co/mvMznhxIaK pic.twitter.com/UgJhwqMxOQ— welfare.ie (@welfare_ie) July 20, 2020
“A key element of the package will be enhancing the supports available to people who have lost employment during this pandemic to assist them back into work as quickly as possible.”
Ms Humphreys said while she is pleased more people are returning to work, the country must remain cautious.
“It is absolutely critical that we heed the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) as everyone is eager to move ahead.
“Now is not the time to become complacent and we must continue to follow the advice of NPHET.”
The latest figures also show more than 67,700 employers have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the temporary Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme (TWSS).
An estimated 415,000 employees are currently being supported by the scheme having received a subsidy in their most recent pay period.