Ireland sees lowest unemployment figures in seven years

Dublin, Feb 24 (IANS) Ireland has seen the lowest unemployment figures in seven years, with 142,300 people back to work since the height of the unemployment crisis, according to official figures.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday showed the long-term unemployment rate continued to fall, down from 5.8 percent to 4.7 percent now, Xinhua reported.

There was an annual increase in employment of 2.3 percent or 44,100 in 2015, the CSO said.

The CSO figures also showed the monthly unemployment rates have been revised up, with the January rate now put at 8.9 percent as against the previously reported 8.6 percent.

Job creation remains top priority of the Irish government, which aims to return the country to full employment by 2018, the report said.

Alan McQuaid, chief economist with the Dublin-headquartered Merrion Stockbrokers, said employment prospects look very good again in 2016 due to the strong economic recovery, with another net increase of 50,000 forecast.

“As regards unemployment, we are now looking for an average jobless rate this year of 8.5 percent as against 9.4 percent in 2015,” he said.

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