IRELAND’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE fell to 7.2% in December.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 7.3% in November and 8.9% in December 2015.
The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed people was 157,700 in December 2016, down from 160,500 when compared to November and a decrease of 35,500 when compared to December 2015.
This marks the lowest level of unemployment in Ireland since August 2008.
In December 2016, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men was 8.1%, down from 8.4% in November and 10.6% in December 2015.
The seasonally adjusted number of men unemployed in December 2016 was 97,100. This is a decrease of 2,700 when compared to the November figure of 99,800.
Last month, the seasonally adjusted number of unemployed women was 60,600, a decrease of 100 when compared to November.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for women in December was 6.1%, unchanged from November and down from 6.9% in December 2015.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for people aged 15-24 years (youth unemployment rate) was 14.5% in December 2016, a decrease from 15.4% in November.
Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar welcomed the further fall in monthly unemployment shown in the CSO figures published today.
“Today’s figures confirm that our economy has continued to improve during 2016 resulting in a reduction of 35,500 in the number of people who are unemployed,” he said.
“I am determined to continue to make more changes for the better this year to ensure that the benefits of economic recovery are felt by every individual, household and region in the country through reduced unemployment, higher living standards and enhanced social protection.”
The Minister said he has pledged that “every effort will be made” to make substantial progress towards the unemployment target of 5-6% and long term unemployment target of <2.5%, as well as moving another 20,000 people from welfare to work in 2017.
Varadkar said this includes measures like one-to-one engagements with jobseekers, as well as initiatives like JobsWeek, which will match jobseekers with employers.