Official figures show that unemployment rose again in the third quarter of this year, but at a slower rate than earlier in the year. The figure also show that long-term unemployment is rising sharply.

The Central Statistics Office said the long-term unemployment rate rose to 6.5% in the third quarter from 3.2% the same time last year.

Its quarterly national household survey said the number of long-term unemployed people rose by 69,000 to total 140,400. It added that long-term unemployment accounted for almost 47% of total unemployment compared with 25% a year earlier.

The total number of people unemployed in the third quarter was 299,000, up 19,200 or almost 7% from a year earlier. The CSO said this was the lowest annual rise since the first quarter of 2008. But the unemployment rate rose from 13.2% in the second quarter to 13.6%. The rate estimated in the last Live Register figures in November has been revised down to 13.2%.

Today's figures also show that the number of people in employment in the third quarter of this year fell by 70,900 (3.7%) to 1,851,500. This compares with an annual decrease of 8.8% the same time last year and was the smallest annual drop for two years.

There was an annual decrease of 45,500 or 4.4% in the number of men in employment, while the number of women in employment decreased 25,400 or 2.9%.

Compared with the same period last year, employment numbers fell in 11 of the CSO's 14 categories, with the biggest fall of 36,800 or 24.3% in construction. Construction employment has now fallen by almost 60% since the second quarter of 2007. There was also a big fall of 9.4% in the financial, insurance and property category.

The CSO survey also shows that the number of non-Irish workers in the labour force fell by almost 13% over the year to 276,600. Just over 50,000 of these were unemployed.