New data show Ireland’s unemployment rate fell to 9.9 per cent in the first quarter of the year, the first time since the fateful year of 2008 that the rate came in below 10 per cent. This represents a key psychological threshold, although the figures show that more than 200,000 people are still without work.
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The good news here is that the economy continues to create jobs at a steady clip. In the year to March, Central Statistics data indicates 41,300 jobs were created and the number people unemployed dropped by 45,300. Employment increased by 12,500 in the first quarter of the year on a seasonally adjusted basis, following on from an increase of 13,000 in the final quarter of 2014 .
All of this is in line with trend growth since the recovery began, with 11 successive quarters of annualised decline in unemployment bringing the rate down from the 15.1 per cent reached at the very height of the jobs crisis in the first quarter of 2012.