Group reports employment increase
Employment levels in Ireland rose last year - the first annual jobs total increase witnessed since 2008, according to a leading business group.
The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) described the extra 1,200 jobs - a rise of 0.1% - as a "small but positive" improvement.
However, IBEC warned that growth was still tentative, noting that there was a drop in full-time employment of 0.9% over the year, which was offset by a rise in part-time positions of 3.2%.
The IBEC Jobs Report 2013 noted that 5,030 new posts were created in the last three months.
IBEC chief economist Fergal O'Brien urged the Government not to introduce further tax increases, claiming it would undermine economic recovery.
"It is crucial that positive employment trends are not undermined by tax increases," he said.
"Any further increase would make work less attractive, undermine the ability of companies to invest and create new jobs and damage hard-won competitiveness gains of recent years. Ireland's marginal income tax rate is already too high - the next change will have to be downwards."
The IBEC Jobs Report analyses the various national employment statistics, data from IBEC surveys and job announcements to provide an overview of employment trends in the economy.
The study found that unemployment decreased by 19,200 or 6.1% in the year, with the total numbers unemployed now standing at 294,600. However, a reduction of 18,000 in the labour force was the primary reason for this. The fall in the labour force is due to a combination of a rise in the number of those no longer seeking employment and emigration.
It was also found that numbers in long-term unemployment also fell 10% over a 12-month period, but remain high at around 60% of total unemployment. The private sector was a net contributor to job growth in 2012. There was a 2.3% fall in numbers working in the public sector over the past year, while employment in the private sector rose by almost 1%.