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Unemployment falls to 4.6 percent

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Unemployment has dropped to 4.6 percent after the largest annual fall on record, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

The number signing on the live register for benefits decreased by 39,359 in the year to the end of May and is now at its lowest level since June 1982.

The number signing on in May dropped by 8,925 and the 152,871 stilling signing on is an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent compared to 5.8 percent in May last year.

Temporary and seasonal workers employed in schools and colleges returning to work after being laid off for the Easter holidays boosted the monthly figure.

The live register includes casual and part-time workers entitled to sign on the dole as well as others who sign on for credits but receive no unemployment payments.

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The Department of Social Welfare continues to refer claimants for interview or jobs placement under the government’s employment action plan. Over 40 percent of those referred stop signing on.

Tanaiste Mary Harney welcomed the latest figures.

"Our success has not made us complacent," she said. "The challenge now is to continue to maintain the competitiveness of the economy and to ensure the continued supply of highly motivated workers to fuel continued growth."

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