Almost half of businesses surveyed by the Central Statistics Office had employees either on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) or the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) in January of this year.
46.6% of almost 243,000 firms across a range of sectors were in receipt of some form of support. This compares to a peak of 57% of firms in April 2020 and a low point of 30% last September.
In January, just over one in five, or 21.5%, of enterprises had all of their employees on the PUP.
Hairdressers and beauticians were the businesses with the highest number of all employees on the PUP, at 40%. Another 58.3% of businesses in the sector had at least 75% of their staff on some form of Covid support.
14.7% of large businesses, defined as 250 employees or over, had at least 75% of employees on some Covid support in January.
That increased to 31.5% for medium sized enterprises (50-249), 32.3% of small enterprises (10-49) and 30.2% of micro enterprises, which employ ten people or fewer.
Within some industries, there is considerable divergence in how firms have survived through the pandemic.
The transport and storage sector, which includes taxi services, had the highest percentage of firms with people continually on the PUP since April last year at 22.4%.
Specifically for taxi drivers, 34.4% of firms have had employees continuously on the PUP. However, 32% of taxi firms have continued to trade with no supports.
11.6% of film and TV production firms have had all their staff on the PUP while 43% of firms in the sector have had none.
Computer consultancies and veterinary practices were the business sectors that availed least of Covid supports. 70.4% of computer consultancies and 68.2% of veterinary practices had no staff in receipt of Covid income supports.
Meanwhile, accommodation and food businesses had the highest take up of the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) at 23.4%.
Of all the businesses analysed, 62% had availed of either the WSS or the PUP at least once from March 2020 to January 2021, the CSO noted.