Unemployment drops to 8.3%, official figures show
Unemployment has dropped to 8.3%, official figures have shown.
The labour market survey also showed the number of people working in Ireland is just shy of two million, after 46,900 workers took up new jobs in the last year.
The report by the Central Statistics Office revealed significant falls in the number of people who have been out of work for more than a year.
The long-term unemployed rate is down from 6% to 4.7% in the year to the end of March but it still makes up more than half of those without a job.
The figures from the Quarterly National Household Survey also showed the total number of unemployed people was down to 179,500.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said job creation had been steady over three and a half years, and was also "broad based".
"The data released today show that the numbers at work continue to grow and that the level of employment is now just shy of the two million mark," he said.
"We have now seen 14 consecutive quarters of employment growth.
"This growth remains broad-based, with 12 of the 14 sectors reported by the CSO showing annual growth. Only a strong economy supporting people at work can pay for the services needed to create a fair society."
Mr Noonan reiterated government pledges to create 200,000 jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside of Dublin.
The 8.3% unemployment rate is the lowest the figure has been since the end of 2008, when the country was in the midst of a deepening recession.
The Department of Finance said the real rate for the end of April was down to 7.9% and forecast that the numbers in work will pass the two million mark before the end of June.