New figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that the seasonally adjusted Live Register total rose by 2,600 to 158,900 in July after a fall of 400 to 156,300 in June.

The CSO says that in the year to July 2005 there was an unadjusted decrease of 8,992, or 5.1%.

This compares with an unadjusted decrease of 9,652, or 5.7%, in the year to June 2005.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.3% in July from 4.2% the previous month, the CSO said.

The CSO figures said the unadjusted monthly increase of 9,209 on the Live Register in July reflected increases in all regions.

The largest percentage increase by region was in the Midlands (7%), while the smallest percentage increase was in the South-East (4.8%).

The largest percentage increases by county were in Offaly (9%) and Cavan (7.6%).

The smallest percentage increases were in Tipperary South (2.2%) and Kerry (4.1%).