The number of people employed in the country rose by 5% or 96,200 in the year running up to last September, according to figures from the latest Quarterly National Household Survey.

Three quarters of this growth was in full time employment. Meanwhile, there was a 3% increase in unemployment in part time workers. The increase was mostly made up of women.

The current total labour force of 2,086,500 is 63% of the population over 15 years of age.

This is far ahead of the other countries in the EU, where employment grew by 1.5% in 2005 and the labour force grew by 1.3%.

The survey compiled by the Central Statistics Office also shows that a quarter of new immigrants to Ireland found jobs in the construction industry.

The figures also reveal that there are now 160,000 people without Irish citizenship working in the country.

22,000 work in the hotel industry, another 22,000 work in the construction industry, and 21,500 work in financial services.

5,000 work in health, while the majority of non-nationals, 28,000, work in other production areas, mainly factories.

40,000 of the new workers in the Irish economy in 2005 are migrants.