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Irish workers the second-hardest hit in EU as 6pc lose jobs

Working from home

Working from home

Seán McCárthaigh

Workers in Ireland are more likely than their counterparts in most other EU member states to have lost their job or experienced reduced working hours or temporary lay-offs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New figures published by the European Commission show the Irish labour market has been one of the worst affected among the EU's 27 countries, with low-paid workers the hardest hit.

Irish workers had the second highest level of risk among Europeans of becoming unemployed in the second quarter of 2020.

It is estimated that 6pc of the Irish labour force lost their job between April and June. Only Spain had a higher rate at 8pc.

The figures also highlight how low-income earners were three times more likely to have lost their job.

Only 3pc of high earners in Ireland were made redundant compared to 10pc of low earners - those earning less than two-thirds of the average hourly wage.

Young people aged 16-24 from Ireland were the third most likely to lose their job within the EU during the second quarter of 2020 after Spain and Portugal.

It was estimated 13pc of that age group in Ireland became unemployed over the period.

However, the European Commission said figures from across the EU showed the probability of losing one's job during the Covid-19 crisis was lower than the likelihood of working less hours.

On that measure, Ireland had the joint highest rate in the EU with Greece, with 27pc of the Irish labour force experiencing either temporary lay-offs or reduced working time.

It found that the highest risk was in the accommodation and food sector.


The figure for Irish workers at risk in this sector was 71pc - the second highest after Cyprus with 72pc.

Other workers most likely to suffer were those working in the arts and entertainment sector, construction and in wholesale and retail outlets.

The lowest risk workers were farmers and those employed in the IT sector.

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