Jobless total down - by 22,000
Published 29/08/2013 | 11:52
The unemployment rate has fallen slightly to 13.7%, official figures have revealed.
A report on the job market found the numbers out of work fell by 22,000 in the year to the end of June, with the jobless total now at 300,700.
There has also been an improvement in the number of people on the dole for a year or more, with the long-term unemployment rate down from 9.2% to 8.1% over the same period.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) report warned that the long-term unemployed make up 58% of those out of work. That proportion has fallen by 3% since June 2012.
The report also noted that employment grew by 33,800 in the year to June, with more than 1.87 million people in work.
Joe Costello, junior minister for trade and development, said the figures are positive.
The CSO report showed four successive quarters of falls in unemployment on an annual basis. It had been growing steadily since 2005.
"Under the previous government, 250,000 people lost their jobs between 2008 and 2011. The latest figures show that almost 3,000 job are now being created each month. While it will take time to recover, things are moving in the right direction," he said.
Business lobby group Ibec claimed the figures show economic recovery is firmly under way.
It also repeated its warning for the Government to move away from 5 00 million euro in tax hikes in the upcoming budget.
Ibec senior economist Reetta Suonpera said: "All the labour market indicators are now pointing in the right direction. Employment has increased on an annual basis for three consecutive quarters, and unemployment has fallen below the 300,000 mark."
She added: "The most recent data on the economy paint a picture of strengthening recovery. However, the situation remains fragile and over the last year we have seen green shoots give way to renewed weakness.
"Confidence is the key for a sustained recovery. Budget 2014 is an opportunity for Government to instil confidence among consumers and businesses. Plans to increase tax by 500 million euro should be dropped."
Mark Fielding, of the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, claimed social welfare benefits were to blame for keeping people out of the jobs market.
"The two areas which have the most effect on the figures are excessive business costs and the generous social welfare system. The former makes it too expensive to hire and the latter makes it uneconomic to work," he said.
"No amount of spinning by Taoiseach and ministers will alter the fact that the private sector, the engine of the economy, will not create jobs while their cost are too high."