By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – For the fourth consecutive month, the number of jobless in Ireland has fallen in May and there are now 23,800 fewer people on the dole than at the beginning of the year as the economic boom continues.
Government chief whip Seamus Brennan said the figures underlined the ongoing progress being made in the battle against unemployment.
During May the number signing on for the dole was 223,941 – the first time since November, 1990, that the figure was below 225,000, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Brennan said the government target of cutting unemployment to 7 percent by 2000 and 5 percent within four or five years was achievable.
The figures were boosted by the seasonal effect of people taking up early summer jobs in tourism, agriculture and other areas.
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The live register includes people signing on for social welfare credits, and those on part-time work.
The recent quarterly household survey showed that about only 136,000 of those on the dole were looking for full-time jobs.