Irish COVID-19 jobless claims tumble as students are cut off

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The number of people in Ireland claiming temporary coronavirus-related jobless benefits fell by 18% to 114,000, mostly due to full-time students being no longer eligible for the scheme as they returned to university, data showed on Wednesday.

Almost 20,000 students received their final payment last week, Ireland’s social protection department said as it begins to phase out the scheme, that pays out at a higher rate than regular jobless benefits, over the next five months.

Ministers expect the numbers to fall below 100,000 in the coming weeks as almost all pandemic restrictions are dropped. Ireland’s unemployment rate stood at 12.4% at the end of August, including recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.