Ireland best in EU for cutting dole numbers
Ireland saw the largest fall in unemployment in the EU last year, new Eurostat figures show.
The joblessness rate here fell from 14pc in December 2012 to 12.1pc a year later.
This means unemployment is now just marginally ahead of the eurozone average of 12pc, though still ahead of the EU-wide average of 10.7pc.
Other countries which saw big unemployment drops included Latvia followed by Portugal, Hungary and Lithuania.
However, Greece saw its unemployment rate climb even higher to 27.8pc, while a staggering 59.2pc of people under 25 are now out of work.
Spain also has extremely high youth unemployment of 54.3pc and the general joblessness rate is 25.8pc, though both have declined slightly in the last year.
In Ireland around 52,000 young people were out of work at the end of 2013, but this was 10,000 lower than a year earlier.
This pushed the youth unemployment rate down to 24.6pc in December 2013 from 28.7pc a year earlier.
However, critics have pointed out that without high emigration and large numbers staying on in third-level education this rate would be much higher.
Unemployment in Britain fell to 7.2pc last year, the Eurostat figures show, while Germany saw its rate fall to 5.1pc.
Meanwhile the unemployment rate in Iceland, which like Ireland also suffered a massive banking crash in 2008, is now down to just 5.2pc.