Unemployment hits new post-crash low of 7.9%

Latest official figures point to an annual decrease of 24,000 or 1.2 per cent

Unemployment has fallen to a new post-crash low of 7.9 per cent, down from the revised 8.2 per cent recorded in August.

The latest official figures show the number of workers classified as unemployed in September was 172,900. This equated to an annual decrease of 24,000 or 1.2 per cent.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the unemployment rate for men stood at 9.2 per cent last month, down from 9.4 per cent the previous month, and 10.6 per cent in September 2015.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for females was 6.4 per cent last month, down from 6.8 per cent in August and 7.3 per cent in September 2015.

The State’s youth unemployment rate was 15.9 per cent in September, a decrease from 17 per cent recorded the previous month.

Isme, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the decrease but warned against complacency and called for a reduction in business costs to allow SMEs employ more staff.

Chief executive Neil McDonnell said: “Today’s figures reaffirm that excessive business costs are deterring new employment. Insurance costs have increased by 38 per cent over the year, according to the CSO, while a recent report by the IMF shows Irish consumers are paying four times the EU average on insurance premiums.”

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times