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Live Register numbers fall once again

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit is at its lowest level in five years and has dropped consistently for the past 27 months in a row.

There are now 374,800 on the Live Register, representing 11.1pc of the workforce.

The Irish rate is below the Eurozone average of 11.5pc, Central Statistics Office figures show.

The number of men signing on for unemployment benefit has dropped 11.5pc in the past 12 months and the number of women dropped by 6.1pc

Long-term claimants have also dropped by 5.6pc to 178,388.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid has predicted that the unemployment rate may drop as low as 10pc next year "assuming the economy continues to grow strongly".

He said that while emigration has been a contributory factor in bringing down the numbers on the Live Register in recent years, there is clear evidence that there is more to it.

He cites the improvement in employment in most sectors of the economy in recent months and believes that the level of unemployment will continue to fall in the final quarter of this year to about 10.8pc by year end.

The CSO figures show that the rate for those claiming benefits has fallen from 12.6pc in September of last year to the current 11.1pc.

This breaks down to 224,819 men on unemployment benefit and 145,231 women. There were 71,744 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register last month, which represents 19.4pc of the total register and is slightly down on the same month last year.

Just over 28,000 new people joined the register last month - 8,961 got Jobseeker's Benefit and 17,832 received Jobseeker's Allowance.