The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 12.7pc to 12.1pc in the last quarter of 2013, the Central Statistics Office said this morning.
Unemployment decreased by 41,400 last year, bringing the total number of people unemployed to 253,200, the CSO added.
The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 8.2pc to 7.2pc over the year.
Despite the fall, the long-term unemployed are still finding it more difficult to find jobs than recently unemployed people. Long-term unemployment accounted for 61.4pc of total unemployment compared with 59.9pc a year earlier and 62.5pc in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The total number of persons in the labour force in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 2,163,100, representing an increase of 19,600 over the year. The number of persons not in the labour force in final quarter was 1,434,300, a decrease of 18,700 over the year.