Jobless rate edges back to 14.3%
The unemployment rate edged back slightly last month to 14.3%, official figures have revealed.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported that the number of people joining dole queues up and down the country was down in March to 434,054.
The Live Register, which records the amount of people signing on for benefits, dropped by 5,368 from February and is down 7,139 over the last 12 months.
The figures also showed that more people are staying on the dole for longer as the number of long-term claimants rose by 10.7% in the last 12 months.
Some 184,465 have been on the register for more than a year - up by 17,838 from March 2011.
There was a 17.3% hike in the number of women receiving benefits long term from last year, while long-term male claimants increased by 8.3%.
The latest CSO numbers also showed that fewer young people are now signing on for benefits.
The number of people under 25 on the Live Register last month fell by 8,403 from the same period last year.
The portion of under-25s claiming benefits has continued to drop since 2010 - falling to 16.8% in March this year from 19.5% two years previous - with emigration widely blamed for such huge reductions.