UNEMPLOYMENT in Ireland is expected to be confirmed at 17% this morning as the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc with the job market.
According to a report from Goodbody Stockbrokers, the number of people receiving unemployment benefit is set to rise by around 300,000 for the month of March as a direct result of the Covid-19 shutdown.
Latest figures show that 482,000 people are now claiming unemplyment payments - by far the largest ever monthly increase.
Dermot O'Leary, chief economist with Goodbody, said it is not yet known when economic life will be allowed to restart and estimated that it could take years for us to get back to where we were in 2019.
"As pubs, shops, hotels reopen their doors, there will of course be a sharp fall, but returning to pre-Covid levels will likely take years," the economist said.
As mentioned before, joblessness is expected to reach 17%, and by way of contrast, for the month of February, that figure was at just 4.8%.
The pandemic, and subsequent isolation and movement restrictions have crippled industries, destroyed businesses and left tens of thousands of households on the financial brink.
The huge spike in unemployment is set to undo what was over a decade of job growth - following Ireland's post-recession recovery.
Mr O'Leary went on to say that due to the likely of a staggered recovery to the coronavirus crisis, a straightforward bounce back is unlikely to happen.
"When restrictions are loosened, they will be differentiated by sector and possibly region too. This makes a V-shaped recovery unlikely in our view," he said.
He added that travel restrictions in a domestic setting could have a lingering effect on the travel and tourism sector, which accounts for 10% of employment in Ireland.