UNEMPLOYMENT is growing at the slowest rate since 2008, offering a slim hope that the catastrophic job losses seen in recent years are finally coming to an end.
The CSO's quarterly national household survey shows 304,500 people were unemployed in the second quarter, up 10,900 from the same period a year earlier. The unadjusted unemployment rate is now 14.3pc.
There have been significant employment losses in places such as Waterford, where almost 600 jobs will go within weeks following the closure of the Talk Talk call centre.
But other parts of the economy are continuing to create work, as cloud-computing firm VMware promised yesterday to create 250 jobs in Ballincollig in Cork over the next three years.
The CSO's new statistics show that more than half of the country's unemployed have been without work for more than 12 months.
Figures released earlier this week showed that nobody has a job in one-in-seven households, and one-in-20 people are now so poor that they cannot afford to buy shoes or a coat.
There are now 1.82 million in work, down 37,800, or 2pc, compared with the same period last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment fell by 0.2pc in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of the year.
This represents the 14th consecutive quarterly decline in employment, but is the slowest since the beginning of the crisis in the first quarter of 2008.
The CSO said the biggest drop in employment over the year was in the 25-34 age group. Employment fell in all regions, except the Mid-West and Midlands.
In a further sign of hope, half of the job sectors monitored by the CSO increased employment levels. Among the 14 sectors reported by the CSO, there were eight that reported quarterly increases in employment, while seven reported annual increases.
The number of people working in the public sector was unchanged compared with the second quarter of last year, but fell 1.3pc when temporary employment for the census was excluded. A detailed breakdown of the public-sector figures shows a big fall in jobs in defence, while other sectors such as health have seen increases.