THE standardised unemployment rate fell to 14.3pc in March 2012 from 14.4pc the previous month but on an annual basis the increase was 0.1pc.
On a seasonally adjusted basis there was a drop of 3,000 on the Live Register bringing the total to 434,800, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.
The latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the Quarterly National Household Survey was 14.6pc in the last quarter of 2011.
The Live Register is not a definitive measure of unemployment as it includes part-time, seasonal and casual workers.
The Live Register showed monthly decreases of 2,000 males and 900 females in March 2012.
While the number of long term claimants increased by 10,235 in the year to March, the number of younger claimants, those under 25, fell by 8,403.
According to Bloxham Stockbrokers, the average unemployment rate in 2011 was 14.4pc and this is expected to fall to 14pc in 2012.
"Although it is likely to be a slow process in getting the jobless rate down, recent economic trends/data have been encouraging," said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham.
Reacting to the figures, Chambers Ireland said that the latest CSO data indicated a slight decrease in the standardised unemployment rate for March 2012 to 14.3pc from 14.4pc in February 2012 but warned about complacency.
Seán Murphy, deputy chief executive said: “The Action Plan for Jobs was announced in February with the promise of a number of initiatives to create employment.
"The unemployment rate has undergone very slight increases and decreases in the last few months without any real reduction in the numbers signed onto the live register.
"What we need now is clear focus on the delivery of these objectives if unemployment numbers are to reduce significantly.”