A new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has found that people living in disadvantaged areas experienced greater disruption to their employment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study, entitled ‘Pandemic Unemployment and Social Disadvantage in Ireland’, was carried out in collaboration with Pobal.
Pobal is an organisation that administers and manages Government and European Union funding to address disadvantage and support social inclusion.
The research found that compared to affluent areas, pandemic unemployment increased more rapidly among individuals living in deprived areas during lockdown periods.
While Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) rates were higher in more deprived areas during lockdowns, they also declined more rapidly in these areas when restrictions eased.
“This rapid decline in unemployment may be due to individuals in deprived areas having less discretion in returning to work once restrictions were lifted,” the report found.
“It may also reflect the high number of people in deprived areas working in sectors that were most affected by lockdowns, such as retail, accommodation and food,” it stated.
Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal, said the research confirms the negative economic and financial impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on those living in more deprived areas.
“This may be due to the reduction and closure of operations in industries and sectors which were affected to the greatest extent by public health measures and that those in deprived areas are more likely to work in,” Ms Shakespeare said.
“This research provides a deeper understanding of the effects of the pandemic on disadvantaged communities and the importance of social income measures during this period to provide additional supports to individuals and families.”
Author of the report, Dr Adele Whelan of the ESRI, said that the findings highlight economic inequalities in the impact of the pandemic.
“The higher PUP rates in more deprived areas give emphasis to the vulnerability of individuals in these areas to labour market disruptions resulting from public health restrictions.
“This is an important consideration for policymakers if future events necessitate lockdown policies,” Dr Whelan said