Covid-19 continued to have a serious impact on the labour market here in the three months from April to June, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.

They reveal that at the end of June, the Covid-19 adjusted measure of unemployment had soared to 23.1% affecting 531,412 people - including those claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.  

The figures also reveal a drop in the total number of hours worked in the second quarter of the year, due to the increase in the number of people classified as "Away from Work" (employed but not working). 

The number of actual hours worked in the second quarter of 2020 fell by over 22.1% to 59.2 million hours compared to million hours compared to 76 million hours in the same quarter a year ago. 

The CSO's Labour Force Survey is the official source of labour market statistics for Ireland. 

Using the standard International Labour Organisation criteria, the unadjusted number of people who were unemployed in the second quarter of the year stood at 118,700 with an associated unemployment rate of 5.1% - but that rises to 23.1% when the effects of Covid-19 are factored in.

Today's CSO figures also reveal that the Covid-19 adjusted measure of employment is estimated to have been 1,783,567 with an associated Covid-19 adjusted employment rate of 52.2%.

Under ILO criteria, employment totalled 2,222,500 by the end of June with an associated Employment Rate of 65.7% for those aged between 15 and 64 years, a decrease of 3.4% on the same time last year.

According to the CSO statistics, labour force participation fell to 58.9% in the year to last June, reflecting the lowest rate of participation since figures began to be compiled in 1998. 

The long-term unemployment rate, which counts those out of work for at least one year, accounted for 21.6% of total unemployment in the second quarter.

The number of part time workers fell by 12.5%, while those in full time employment fell by 1.1%. 

The number of women in employment dropped by 3.9% (41,700), while the drop in male employment was less severe at 2.9% (35,800). 

Meanwhile the rate of youth unemployment rose from 15.7% to 16.6%.

The biggest rate of decrease in employment was in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, with jobs in that sector declining by 29.6%.

Jobs in Administration and Support were down 17.2% while Construction employment fell by 12.1%.

The total number of people in the labour force was down 3.7% or 89,600 to 2,341,200 in the second quarter of this year compared to the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, the number of people not in the labour force was 1,632,600 - an increase of 10.2% or 150,800 from a year earlier.

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed noted that with the labour force down to 2,341,200, the labour market participation rate fell to 58.9% - below the lowest previous rate of 61.1% in the first quarter of 2013 when Ireland was still locked into the financial crisis. 

Head of Policy and Media Breda O'Brien said that to be included in the official unemployment figures, respondents must have been actively seeking work over the previous four weeks, and be available to take up work in the coming two weeks. 

She pointed out that some people answer no for a number of reasons including "... a lack of hope in finding a job, care and transport challenges, waiting for their former place of employment to re-open."

The number in this category known at the Potential Additional Labour Force has more than doubled from 127,100 in Q2 2019 to 273,500 in Q2 2020.  

The trade union-funded Nevin Economic Research Institute described the findings on the impact of Covid-19 as "stark". 

It said that with the rate of churn from employment to unemployment, from unemployment to wage supports and from wage supports to unemployment which lockdown had brought about, especially between April and June, it was difficult to get a feel for the full impact of Covid " the dust is yet to settle."

It noted that younger groups and those with lower levels of education were being disproportionately affected by Covid-19.