Employment figures up 2.3pc
AN extra 42,700 people had a job in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2013, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
This means employment was up 2.3pc, according to the official figures.
Men made up the bulk of the rise in employment, accounting for 32,700 of the overall increase.
The number of people in employment increased by 1,700 between January and March.
The unemployment rate has now fallen to 12pc, from 12.2pc, while the number of unemployed dropped 4,500 in the first three months of the year
Long term unemployment fell to 7.3pc in the first three months compared with 8.4pc this time last year.
The data shows that the rise in employment is reasonably broad based, increasing in nine of the fourteen economic sectors.
The largest rates of increase were recorded in agriculture, forestry and fishing, up 14.9pc, professional, scientific and technical activities, up 11.4pc, and accommodation and food services, which was up 11.2pc.
The CSO warned that the increase in agriculture, forestry and fisheries are in part due to changes in how data is collated.
John FitzGerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) described the figures as slightly disappointing, saying he would have expected more growth in employment quarter on quarter.
"I suspect that you'll go back to significant growth in the second and third quarter in employment, but it is less than in the previous two quarters," he told the Irish Independent.
"I wouldn't change my forecasts for the year, which is for very significant growth overall, year on year."