The unemployment rate, when adjusted for those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, was 21.9% last month, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show today.

The number of people this represented was 487,122.

The rate of 21.9% in May is down from a rate of 24.8% in April, the CSO said.

For people aged between 15-24, the Covid-adjusted unemployment rate was 58.8%. The rate for those aged 25-74 was 18.1%.

The CSO estimates that approximately 8.1% of all PUP recipients are in full time education.

It is estimated that approximately a third of those under 25 receiving the PUP are in full time education while 1.3% of those over 25 are in this category.

People in full time education are generally not eligible for unemployment payments.

Based on the traditional method of measuring unemployment, the CSO said that 7.8% of the workforce were unemployed in May, down from 7.9% in April. This equated to 174,700 people, down from 181,300 the previous month.

For those aged 15-24 the rate was 18.1% compared to 6.8% for those aged 25-74.

The CSO also published its Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2021 today.

The survey showed there were 7.6 million fewer hours worked in the first three months of the year compared to the same time a year ago - a fall of 9.9%.

The CSO said this is largely down to a 48.5% increase in what are defined as "absences" from work. Absences were greatest in the accommodation and food service sector as well as cultural and recreational occupations.

The fall in employment was greatest in the accommodation and food service sector, which saw a fall of 43.6% or 73,900 fewer jobs. By contrast, employment in the ICT or tech sector rose by 9.5% or 12,200.

The CSO said today that the Covid-adjusted employment rate was 52% at the end of March. This meant 1,785,923 people were in work. This had risen to 56.1% or 1,921,085 people by the end of May.

The Covid-adjusted unemployment rate was 25.7% at the end of March, which equates to 612,443 people out of work.

There were 60,800 fewer people in the labour force at the end of March compared to last year. This has reduced the participation rate from 62.2% to 60%.

Today's figures also show that he number of people in long-term unemployment rose by 27.6% in the year to the end of March, up 8,800 to 40,800. The long-term unemployed now equal 23.9% of those unemployed.

Commenting on the figures, Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said they expect next quarter’s results to be "a lot more positive".

"We are aiming to have 2.5million people in work by 2024 with our Economic Recovery Plan, more than we had pre-pandemic," he said.

"Things are looking up but today’s numbers are a stark reminder of the cruelty of the virus and how many people have been impacted," he added.