Fall in Live Register figures 'nearly all men'
THE number of people signing on the Live Register fell by 700 last month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
New Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show there were 421,737 people on the dole in May, down over 11,000 since this time last year.
Nearly all the fall was amongst men, as the number of female claimants was almost unchanged.
The number of people out of work longterm increased by 3,268 in the year to 192,000, or 45.5pc of the total signing on.
One in five people, around 88,000 in total, are casual or part-time workers who sign on for the days they are not working.
The number of young people aged 25 and under signing on fell by 5,833 in the year.
Overall the unemployment rate is now at 13.7pc.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said that while the seasonal fall in unemployment was welcome, high business costs, overly generous welfare payments and the black economy were undermining job growth.
"The slight reduction in the headline unemployment figures masks the true level of unemployment, which is under-reported through increased emigration, increased participation on state initiatives and a significant rise in individuals remaining in education," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.
"The true picture is that well over half a million of our citizens are out of work".
Trade union Unite also attributed the decrease in benefits claimants to emigration and job schemes.
"When these are taken into account, it's apparent that there has been no real shift in the jobless rate," said Jimmy Kelly, the union's regional secretary.
"In fact, it is particularly worrying that last month saw a substantial increase in the number of new applications for benefit and assistance.
"There has also been a big jump in the numbers signing on for a year or more."
The number of people signing on for a year or more rose by 3,268 to 191,997. There was a slight drop in the number of men classed as long-term unemployed, but a rise in the number of women - up by 4,444, or more than 8%.
Mr Kelly said the figures show Ireland has entered a period of prolonged stagnation.
"The only way this can be reversed is for the government to ditch its failed austerity policies and use the forthcoming Budget to embark on a programme of smart investment in growth and jobs ", he said.