Over 30,000 construction workers are claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Newstalk Breakfast has learned that almost 35,000 construction workers are currently availing of the PUP - around 20% of the estimated workforce in the sector.
That's despite the construction sector being allowed to fully reopen since May 4th.
The Construction Industry Federation says 40% of the industry stayed open during level five lockdown, for projects that were given exemptions.
Director General Tom Parlon says it's his understanding that more people are now returning to work "every day and every week".
He told Newstalk Breakfast: "I was a little bit surprised by the [over 30,000] figure, but when you look at the other side of it it shows 80% of workers are back.
"In the past week, the construction sector has the largest number of employees who are closing their PUP claims."
Mr Parlon said there has been a somewhat slow start-up for some projects due to issues around supplies - including shortages of timber and steel.
However, he said more people will return to work as more projects open up and more supplies become available.
He said there may be some level of "black market" work going on in the sector, but insisted there are lots of "checks and balances" in place to prevent that from happening.