Figures published by Eurostat show that Ireland has the fifth highest rate of unemployment in the European Union.

The average unemployment rate in the EU stands at 10.2%, while the rate for the 17 countries in the eurozone is 10.9%.

Unemployment in the US is currently 8.2%, and at 4.5% in Japan.

Figures for the month ending March 2012 show that Spain has the highest unemployment rate at 24.1%, followed by Greece at 21.7%. Portugal is third on 15.3%, Latvia fourth with 14.7% and Ireland fifth at 14.5%.

The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in Austria, with 4%, followed by the Netherlands at 5%.

Meanwhile, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show the Live Register was effectively unchanged in April, with 100 more people signing on the register last month, bringing the seasonally adjusted figure to 436,000.

The standardised unemployment rate in April stood at 14.3%, unchanged from the level in March.

The figures also show that in unadjusted terms there were 430,001 people signing on the Live Register in April. This represents a decrease of 9,570 over the year.

The CSO said that the trend in the overall Live Register continues to be one of movement within a small range.