Jobless rate set to drop below 10pc
Unemployment will fall to below 10pc this year for the first time in seven years, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has forecast.
In its latest economic commentary, the think-tank said the jobless rate will drop to 9.7pc this year, before falling further to 8.4pc in 2016.
The last time it was lower than this level was in 2008, when the unemployment rate was 6.4pc.
The ESRI is also predicting another year of strong economic growth in 2015, with the economy set to expand by 4.4pc, more ambitious than the forecasts from the Department of Finance.
"The increased level of activity in the economy should see unemployment rates falling by the end of 2015 to less than 10pc for the first time since 2008," said David Duffy (above), co-author of the ESRI's Spring Quarterly Economic Commentary.
"In 2014 we also saw domestic sources of growth increase in relevance and we envisage continued strong contributions from investment, in particualr, and consumption into 2015."
Employment growth will continue in both industry and services with strong employment growth in construction likely to continue into next year, the ESRI said.
The forecast of a continuing fall in unemployment here comes just a day after European Central Bank predicted that one in ten workers in the Eurozone will remain unemployed, even after the full effects of the ECB's Government bond buying programme, designed to kick-start the sagging Eurozone recovery, moves through the economy.
Unemployment in the Eurozoen remains at 11.2pc, higher than the rate here.