Jobless rate held at seven-year low during December
Unemployment in Ireland remained at a seven-year low last month, official figures show.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2015 dropped to 8.8pc from 10.2pc in December 2014, according to the CSO.
Overall, 190,600 people were unemployed over the Christmas period - 700 fewer than in November and 29,200 fewer than the same period in 2014.
Despite predictions of a bumper Christmas for retailers, the jobless rate remained unchanged since November, when it was also 8.8pc, down from 8.9pc in October.
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the figures confirmed "a continued and steady fall in unemployment" as a result of the jobs-led recovery in the economy.
"I particularly welcome the fall in youth unemployment to 19.2pc, down from 26pc two years ago. While this is still too high, it shows we are making progress," she said.
"We are now creating 1,000 jobs a week, and are close to having two million people at work. We want to continue this momentum towards full employment."
Before Christmas, Retail Excellence Ireland predicted shops here would have their busiest festive season in eight years, with thousands of seasonal jobs created. But the newest unemployment figures failed to reflect the spending spree on the high street.
Although down 1pc since December 2014, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for women last month remained unchanged from November at 7.3pc. The same figure for men fell just marginally to 10pc in December from 10.1pc the previous month.
However, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton stressed there was "no room for complacency".
Meanwhile, a new study showed Ireland was still one of the toughest countries in Europe in which to get a job in 2014. While the uptake of part-time work rose in most countries that year, it remained highest in Ireland, Italy, and Spain.
Despite the economic turnaround, the Irish labour market has some "major disadvantages", according to the study from Glassdoor Economic Research.
This included high numbers being forced in to part-time employment, instead of full-time.
It showed we had the fifth highest jobless rate out of 16 European countries, and expressed concern at our consistently high level of youth unemployment, which stood at 25pc in 2014.