New figures show that the number of people signing on the Live Register increased at a record rate of almost 50% in the year to September.

The Central Statistics Office said the seasonally adjusted figure for September was 244,500, an increase of 9,400 from August.

The unadjusted figure fell back by just over 7,000 to 240,217, but the September figure usually drops as students return to college. The unadjusted figure is up 49.5% since the same period last year, beating the previous month's record rise of 42%.

The unemployment rate moved up from 6.1% in August to 6.3%. The monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted figure was made up of 5,800 men and 3,500 women.

Reacting to the figures, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said the downturn in the economy inevitably leads to an increase in the number of unemployed.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment said FÁS would have to be refocused to allow people who fall into unemployment to immediately sign up to training services with the agency.

She stressed that the job pipeline looked good with new announcements to be made in the coming weeks.

Ms Coughlan said the measures being taken this week by the Government will copper fasten the country's position and create a sustainable economy.

Ms Coughlan said foreign direct investment would continue to remain strong and will see greater growth between now and the end of next year.

She described the Government support for banks as a bold move which would send out a strong message to the world that the Government in control and supporting the banking system, which she said was the basis of the Irish economy.

Minister Coughlan said new opportunities across the world were continually being examined and the latest move by the Government was a clear signal that Ireland is still very much open for business.

She said employment policy would continue to be structured to reflect the needs of the Irish economy.