THE number of people signing on fell by 1,400 last month - bringing the dole queues down to 430,900.
New figures show strong signs that unemployment has stabilised, following record increases after the recession hit.
The number of men out of work fell by 1,800 in December, while the number of women seeking assistance rose by 400.
There was a total of 423,733 people signing on last month, according to the unadjusted figures.
This followed a drop of 2.5pc or 11,051 dole claimants during the year.
“While the trend in the overall Live Register continues to be one of movement within a small range, annual decreases were recorded in all months of 2012,” said the Central Statistics Office.
Chambers Ireland said the figures were proof the country was slowly, but steadily on the road to recovery.
Chief executive Ian Talbot said an increase in tax receipts, a boost in retail sales and Ireland's success in meeting its Troika targets were all confirmation it was on the right track.
"This week's news has been positive but must still be seen in the context of the continued enormous current account deficit of over €1bn a month," Mr Talbot added.
"We cannot afford to ease up on the continued public sector reform program needed to get the country back on its feet permanently," he concluded."