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Unemployment total falls by 9.3%

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The percentage of people out of work in Ireland has dropped over the first three months of this year

The percentage of people out of work in Ireland has dropped over the first three months of this year

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The percentage of people out of work in Ireland has dropped over the first three months of this year

The unemployment rate has seen one of its largest falls since the economic collapse, official figures have revealed.

The percentage of people out of work has dropped from 14.1% to 13.7% over the first three months of this year, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said. Its report found unemployment decreased by 29,900, a fall of 9.3%, in the year to the first quarter of 2013, bringing the total figure down to 292,000.

The CSO also said there was an increase in employment of 1.1% or 20,500 over the same period.

The quarterly national household survey also recorded a change in the long-term unemployed with the number of people out of work for more than a year falling from 9.5% to 8.4% over the year. This class now accounts for almost two-thirds of the total number of unemployed.

The CSO said the labour force fell by 9,400 over the year to 2,137,500. CSO analysis showed that the first three months of 2013 was the third quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis. It had been on a continuous upward trend since 2005.

The amount of men out of work fell by 28,200 to 186,900 over the year while for women there was a fall of 1,700.

Trade union Siptu described the figures as a step in the right direction.

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But the group's economist Marie Sherlock said: "There are a number of concerns evident from an initial inspection of the statistics. Firstly, it is unclear what impact emigration has played in the decreasing number of those unemployed. In relation to the growth in those working, the bulk of employment is in part-time work, which is narrowly concentrated in a small number of sectors."

The report showed that more jobs are being created in agriculture, forestry, fishing and health than anywhere else.

Ms Sherlock also said there were concerns that much of the growth in employment in services, particularly in health and education, were at the professional end. She said this would not benefit the long-term unemployed who are most in need.


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