Minister of State Michael Ahern has told the Dáíl that continued employment growth is expected for the medium term, but at a slower pace.

The level of unemployment is forecast to average 5.5% for 2008 to 2010.

In response to parliamentary questions, the Minister said that the live register figures for January were 181,449.

The most recent unemployment figures from the Central Statistics Office show an increase of 67,600 for the third quarter in 2007.

The Minister said that for the first time ever more than 2 million people were working in the State.