Figures from the Department of Social Protection show that for the first time since the start of Covid-19, the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen below the 100,000 mark.
Today's figures show that the weekly payments valued at €25.1m are to be issued to 97,130 people in receipt of the PUP, down 4,340 compared to last week.
The greatest reduction this week is in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, as it has been for the past 18 weeks.
The PUP figures published this week are in addition to the 162,898 people who were on the Live Register at the end of September.
Over €8.8 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Payments has been paid out to almost 900,000 people since the pandemic started in March 2020.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the PUP income support has been a vital lifeline for these people and their families during the Covid-19 crisis.
She said the fall below the 100,000 mark is a significant milestone and means that there has been an almost 85% reduction in the number of people receiving the PUP since May 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
"More and more people continue to return to work and the numbers on the PUP have now fallen every single week for the past nine months," the Minister noted.
"Tomorrow, the Government will announce Budget 2022, which will be key to stimulating our economy and supporting sectors that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19," Ms Humphreys said.
"As Minister for Social Protection, my priority will be supporting those most vulnerable such as our older people, our carers, people with disabilities and low income families," she added.