THERE was a further reduction in the number of Donegal people receiving Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP) this week.
There was a drop of just over 4 per cent with 606 fewer people being given a PUP this week.
The figure fell from 14,384 to 13,778.
At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic last May, there were 22,594 people in Donegal receiving PUP.
Nationally this week, the Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at €119.9 million to 403,095 people in receipt of the PUP.
The figures published are in addition to the 183,096 people who were on the Live Register at the end of March.
The sector with the highest number of people receiving PUP this week is Accommodation and Food Service activities (101,637), followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (65,984) and Construction (42,333).
The Construction sector has seen the largest decrease in the number of people receiving PUP this week with 6,600 fewer people receiving the payment compared to last week.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said: “This week, we have seen a fall in the number of people in receipt of the PUP. This is encouraging and is an indication that people are returning to work as certain sectors open and restrictions are slowly eased.
“We have reasons to be hopeful and optimistic. The number of vaccinations continues to ramp up on a daily basis and later this week, the Government will set out a roadmap for a further easing of restrictions in May and June.
“Easing restrictions too quickly could cause a spike in Covid-19 cases and set us backwards. Government wants to avoid this and the reopening of our economy will therefore be on a gradual, cautious and phased basis.”
Since March of last year, the Department has paid out over €7.3 billion through the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Over 22 million payments have been issued and over 850,000 people have received support from the PUP at some stage.