Unemployment falls below 300,000 for first time in three years
THE unemployment rate has seen one of its largest falls since the economic collapse, official figures have revealed.
The percentage of people out of work has dropped from 14.1% to 13.7% over the first three months of this year, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.
Some 292,00 people are without a job, down 29,900, while the numbers in employment rose by 20,500 to 1.8 million.
"The volume of people unemployed is the first time it has fallen below 300,000 since 2010," the CSO said.
The numbers of long-term unemployed have also fallen.
The biggest drop in unemployment in specific sectors is in construction (down 7,000 or almost 7pc), administration (down 4.8pc) and public administration and defence (down 4.3pc).
The quarterly national household survey also recorded a change in the long-term unemployed with the number of people out of work for more than a year falling from 9.5pc to 8.4pc over the year.
This class now accounts for almost two-thirds of the total number of unemployed.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the figures showed that the private sector was undergoing a very significant transition.
“The last 12 months we’ve had over 25,000 net additional people at work in the private sector, that represents 2000 per month since we launched the action plan for jobs,” he said.
“It’s in sharp contrast with a couple of years ago when 90,000 jobs were being lost. The transition from one that was shedding employment in thse key sectors to one that was adding employment in these key sectors is one that we need to sustain.”
The CSO said the labour force fell by 9,400 over the year to 2,137,500.
CSO analysis showed that the first three months of 2013 was the third quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis.
It had been on a continuous upward trend since 2005.
The amount of men out of work fell by 28,200 to 186,900 over the year while for women there was a fall of 1,700.