A total of 1,320,837 people benefitted from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) or the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) between March 2020 and March 2021.

This is according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO that while 385,211 people were in receipt of the PUP during the week ending May 2 this year, 863,546 persons had received at least one PUP payment since the scheme began in March 2020.

Of these, 57.1% were men and 42.9% were women while 18.5% were aged under 25 years and 47.9% were aged between 25 and 44 years, the CSO said.

The Government last year introduced a range of measures to provide financial support to individuals and businesses who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the PUP, TWSS and EWSS.

The CSO said that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was operational from March 2020 to August 2020 and 664,098 people were supported by it for at least one week during that time.

A total of 294,007 people are estimated to have been directly supported by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) during the week ending March 28.

562,420 workers are estimated to have been supported by the scheme for at least one week between September 2020 and the end of March this year.

Today's figures show that the total weekly number of recipients of the PUP, TWSS or EWSS peaked during the week ending May 3, 2020 at 1,011,0080 - this was the only week so far that it exceeded one million people.

The CSO said the economic sector with the most employees being directly supported by the EWSS last year was the Accommodation & Food Service sector which peaked during the week ending 20 September 2020 at 88,875.

The number fell over the following weeks as Government restrictions changed, and it had halved by the week ending 22 November 2020 (45,398).

But the number of those working in the Accommodation & Food Service sector being directly supported by the EWSS rose again during December and came to a second peak of 83,088 during the week ending December 27, 2020 before falling again during the third lockdown.

Meanwhile the sector with the most employees being directly supported by the EWSS during 2021 was the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector.

From the first official week of operation of the EWSS (week ending 06 September 2020) up to the week ending 27 December 2020 there were between 30,000 and 42,000 people working in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector being directly supported by the EWSS.

That number rose over the following weeks until it peaked during the week ending 31 January 2021 at 60,937.

It remained at between 58,000 and 60,000 during February 2021 while current estimates for each week of March 2021 are close to 55,000, the CSO added.