The State's unemployment rate fell to 4.8 per cent in April, down from 5.1 per cent the previous month, new data from the Central Statistics Office showed.
That compares with 7.5 per cent in April 2021, when restrictions were in place to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
A total of 129,500 people were classed as unemployed in the economy last month, the CSO said. That represented a decline of 6,300 people compared with the previous month, and 56,800 over the year.
The decline came despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine and rising concerns about the cost of living.
"The unemployment numbers continue to encourage but the coming months will be crucial in determining where the economy is heading. Rising costs are seeing more people having to divert spending away from desirable items towards essential items like heat and food," said Andrew Webb, chief economist at Grant Thornton Ireland.
“This does not bode well for the wider economy, and we are already seeing a significant drop in consumer sentiment that suggests further retrenchment. Without a speedy resolution to the current cost-of-living crisis, the risk of a recession is mounting.”
Higher for men
Overall, unemployment levels were slightly higher for men at 4.9 per cent. The rate for women was 4.7 per cent.
The youth unemployment rate was higher than the average at 5.6 per cent for those aged 15-24.
Jack Kennedy, economist with global job site Indeed, said rising inflation had yet to hit the strength of the labour market in Ireland, but warned it may eat into economic confidence over time and stoke wage expectations.
However, employees want more than headline rates of pay, he said, with access to flexible working and a better work-life balance key features that many employees are seeking.
“Despite the labour market uncertainty, employers are still actively hiring, with the level of Irish job postings on Indeed up 52 per cent at April 29th, 2022, compared to February 1st, 2020,” he said. “Against this competitive backdrop for talent, employers who demonstrate flexibility and offer compelling benefits over and above the basic remuneration package will be best placed to succeed.”