Jobless figures fall again as firms warn about pay increases
Unemployment figures are on track to fall below 10pc new figures reveal.
The number of people signing on the live register fell by 4,300 in February to stand at 355,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the number of long term claimants on the live register in February was 162,776.
The number of men who are long term claimants decreased by 16,836, or 13pc, in the year to February.
The figures show that in gross terms 141,151 people left the live register to take up work during the last 12 months.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said this means that the exit rate from the live register into work is running at 40pc, up from 33pc in 2012.
"This provides an indication of the level of churn in the labour market and the degree to which new job opportunities are impacting on the numbers of people on the live register," Mr Bruton said.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) said that the CSO figures showed that the number of those aged under 25 signing on the live register in February was 48,524. It said that this represented a decrease of 765 compared to the January figure of 49,289.
"We should take these recent figures as a timely reminder that a continual and consistent focus must be kept on the issue of youth unemployment," said James Doorley, NYCI deputy director.
According to the figures for last month, some 192,348 (54pc) of all claimants on the live register were short-term claimants.
The live register includes part-time workers, including those who work up to three days a week, as well as seasonal and casual workers who are entitled to jobseekers benefit or allowance.
At the end of February, the standardised unemployment rate stood at 10.1pc, which was down 0.2pc in the month, and down from a high of 15pc in February 2012.
Annual decreases occurred in all eight regions, according to the figures.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the drop in unemployment figures, but warned that calls by unions for wage increases were impeding job creation in the sector.