New figures from the Department of Social Protection show that the number of people getting the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are at the lowest level since early March 2020.

Just over 202,000 people received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, a decrease of almost 9,700 on last week.

The largest reduction - over 3,000 - was in the Accommodation and Food Services Sector.

The Department said it issued weekly payments valued at €59.8m to 202,152 people in receipt of the PUP.

Today's figures show that the greatest decrease this week again was in the under 25 age group with 42,308 receiving PUP compared with 45,881 last week.

Dublin continues to be the county with the highest number of people who are receiving PUP this week at 75,178. It is followed by Cork (17,970) and Galway (10,706).

The sector with the highest number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is Accommodation and Food Service Activities (47,640) followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (30,876) and Administrative and support service activities (22,393).

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said just over 202,000 people received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, with over 8,800 having closed their claims in the past seven days as they are returning to work.

"As we go into August, I anticipate further falls in the overall numbers - partly due to the expected re-opening of indoor hospitality," the Minister said.

She also said she wanted to acknowledge the efforts being made by employers who are re-opening for business in ensuring they are keeping their customers and staff safe.

Minister Humphreys said that as Ireland continues to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government will prioritise the implementation of its Pathways to Work Strategy.

"This strategy is all about arming people who find themselves unemployed with the necessary tools to enter or re-enter the workplace. I am very confident that, through Pathways to Work and the range of supports available, we will continue to build on the considerable progress made to date in supporting people into employment," she said.

"I would strongly urge anyone who finds themselves out of work, and whose industry has not yet re-opened, to contact their local Intreo Centre where they will get more detailed information on the range of supports and services that are available," the Minister added.