There was a fall of 1,738 in the Live Register in January, according to the Central Statistics Office, leaving the figure at 214,014. The seasonally-adjusted figure shows a drop of 3,100 to 209,500. In the year to January, the number of people signing on fell by 32,513. These figures show the unemployment total at its lowest level for sixteen years.

Meanwhile the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs has announced that half of the dole claimants aged under 25 refered for interview under the government's employment action plan between September and November last year have since signed off the dole.