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Jobs market up 15pc

THERE was a boost to the employment market last month as the number of new jobs increased by 15pc.

Brian Murphy, managing director of Premier Group in Ireland, said the rise equated to the highest number of new jobs available in any one month since November 2008.

"In general, confidence in the market continues to improve," he said.

The figures show more activity in the job market, with the number of professionals looking for a new role in January increasing by 67pc month-on-month.

But Mr Murphy noted that when seasonal factors are taken into consideration, this rise owes much to the "new year, new job syndrome", which often follows the December decline in recruitment activity.

Sectors that were busier in January included IT, pharmaceutical/medical devices and supply chain positions across industry sectors.

Despite these positive results, Live Register figures released today show jobless claims rose in January, pushing the unemployment rate in Ireland to the highest in more than 15 years.

Further job losses are expected this year although at a much reduced rate to that seen in 2009.

The Government sees unemployment averaging 13.2pc in 2010 compared with 11.8pc last year.

It expects the economy to resume expansion in the second half of the year.