Unemployment drops at one of highest rates in EU
IRELAND enjoyed one of the biggest drops in unemployment in the EU in March.
New figures reveal the country was among the four that experienced the largest decreases in the number of people out of work.
The unemployment rate fell from 13.7pc to 11.8pc here, while it plummeted from 11pc to 7.9pc in Hungary, from 13.9pc to 11.6pc in Latvia, and from 17pc to 15pc in Portugal.
However, other countries were not as lucky and the rate of joblessness soared in Cyprus, from just under 15pc to over 17pc. Unemployment also rose in the Netherlands, Italy and Croatia, which has a rate of over 17pc, according to the Eurostat figures.
During the week, an expert group welcomed the fact that unemployment had fallen from a crisis peak of 15.1pc to 11.8pc this month.
The Labour Market Council also noted that long-term unemployment is down from over 9pc to 7.2pc.
It applauded the Government for its work in setting up revamped job services for the unemployed.
It said the Government needed to measure whether its back-to-work scheme was having an impact and try to get more long-term unemployed people back to work.
The figures also show that unemployment among the under-25s in Ireland, at 26pc, is above the EU average of almost 23pc.
Austria enjoys the lowest unemployment rate of the EU countries, at less than 5pc, while the rate is 5pc in Germany.
The unemployment rate averaged 10.5pc across the EU, down from 10.9pc in March last year.