Emigration has played a significant role in moderating the increase in unemployment that took place between 2008 and 2012, a think-tank has said.
The Nevin Economic Research Institute (Neri) said that were it not for emigration, unemployment today might be only moderately less than what it was in the peak of 2012, when it reached as high as 15pc.
The jobless rate has now dipped below 10pc and Finance Minister Michael Noonan forecasts that it could dip to below 7pc by 2020.
Neri director Tom Healy pointed out that the number of net migrants leaving between April 2008 and April 2014 totalled around 141,000.
"Focussing on Irish nationals only, an estimated 228,000 emigrated over the six-year period, while 108,000 immigrated, leaving a net departure figure of 120,000," Mr Healy said.
"Of the 120,000 'net migrants' an estimated 81,000 were in the 15-24 age group."
Mr Healy said the fact that more than 80,000 young people left Ireland during the worst of the crisis provides a broad indication of the overall level of unemployment, or under- employment.
"While not all of these persons would have been unemployed or under-employed, it is reasonable to assume that had they stayed here unemployment would have been significantly higher than it would otherwise have been, either because those staying are unemployed or because other jobs would have been displaced," he added.