The State training and employment authority, FÁS, is expecting the rate of employment growth to moderate to 2.8% this year, compared to more than 4% last year.

FÁS says 57,000 new jobs will be provided this year compared to the 86,000 generated last year when the numbers of people with a job climbed to 2.07 million. 

It has also warned that the creation of construction jobs will be slow and that there could be a fall back in the number of migrants from the ten EU accession countries coming to Ireland.

In a first-quarter labour market commentary, FÁS said that by the end of 2006 employment had grown by over 85,500 to 2.07 million.

The number of people without a job fell to 88,700, with an unchanged unemployment rate of 4.1% - the lowest in five years.

The authority said that foreign nationals now account for 11% of the workforce, and over half of the increase in last year's jobs.

FÁS economist Brian McCormick added that the jobs market was still buoyant.