New figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the number of people on the Live Register is now at its lowest level for four and a half years.
The number of people signing on across the south-east has dropped by 3,849 over the last 12 months. There are now 3,174 fewer men signing on in the region and 675 fewer females.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said the latest figures are a great start to the New Year for the jobs market. He attributed it to new jobs being created in the real economy.
“Coupled with the huge demand for Irish bonds in this week’s move back into the international money markets, these positive jobs figures represent a great start to the New Year,” said Minister Hogan.
“I am pleased to see that there has been a drop in the number of people who are long-term unemployed. The Jobs Plus Initiative, under which the Government covers a quarter of what it costs to hire someone who has been on the Live Register for more than 12 months, is one of a number of measures helping to address the issue of long term unemployment.”
While emigration remains a factor in the falling numbers of those seeking unemployment benefit, local Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has also welcomed the latest figures, and said that the Action Plan for Jobs was working.
“We’ve had some significant jobs announcements in Kilkenny over the past months, including expansions at Glanbia and at Smartply in the south of the county,” he said.