Results released today by the CSO have highlighted the enormous impact the pandemic has had on our society and economy over the past 18 months.
The statistics published show that there have been over 5,000 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland over the last 18 months. In addition, national news platforms have sent us daily push notifications informing us of the number of new Covid-19 cases, patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and sadly, the number of daily deaths due to Covid-19 in Ireland.
The social impact of Covid-19 on our society has been spoken about at length with the adverse effects of long periods of lockdown having on an individual’s mental health. According to a survey carried out by the CSO, when the first Covid-19 related restrictions were implemented, three in ten (29.6%) respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as low. However, this dropped to just over two in ten (21.6%) once the restriction was lifted. During the second lockdown, this number increased to 35.6%.
The statistics published today also show some positive outcomes from the Covid-19 pandemic. In a November 2020 survey, 45% of respondents reported that something in their lives had changed for the better since the onset of Covid-19, with more than half of women 51% and over 38% of men saying this.
It has been reported that over 30% of people are having more quality time with people they live with and an aspect of their lives that had changed for the better. In addition, 19% said that their finances have improved.
It has also been highlighted that similar percentages of workers reported a better work-life balance (18.8%) and less time commuting or travelling for work (19.4%) as aspects of their lives that have improved since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.
Statistics show that revenues in 2020 were €3.6 billion lower than in 2019, primarily due to the restrictions in place due to the pandemic. The main driver of the decline was indirect taxes- reduced VAT receipts and the waiver of commercial rates leading to a reduction in revenues.
In Q4 of 2019, Ireland recorded its highest number of individuals in employment at 2.36 million, and the unemployment rate sat at 4.5%. However, the public health measures introduced by the Irish Government in March 2020 to control the spread of Covid-19 saw a rate of unemployment increase to 31.5%. The current rate of unemployment as of August 2021 is 12.4%.
The sectors most impacted in terms of job losses include tourism, hospitality & food service, retail and construction. With employment levels declining by 116,600 persons or 5% over the period from Q1 2020 to Q1 20201, a more striking illustration of the impact of the virus on the Labour Market is that there were almost 7,6 million fewer hours worked per week in Q1 2021.
Property prices are rising, and the construction sector is starting to recover as restrictions have eased. As a result, there has been a rebound in new dwelling completions to pre-Covid-19 levels, with apartments accounting for a quarter of completions.