The number of people on the Live Register fell for the second month in a row in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO said there was a 1,700 fall from January, giving a total of 439,200. This follows a bigger drop of 5,800 in January.

The CSO said the seasonally adjusted figure had fallen by 10,000 since reaching a peak in August and September last year.

The unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 13.5%.

The headline figure, which does not take account of seasonal changes, rose by 1,622 to 444,299. The Live Register includes some part-time and seasonal workers and does not measure unemployment.

Separate figures show a big drop in the number of redundancies notified to the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation last month.

The department was told of 3,134 lay-offs in February, down 44.2% from the same month last year. For the first two months of 2011, redundancies are down 34.2% to 8,016.

52% annual rise on long-term claimants

The CSO also said that there were just over 40,000 new claimants on the Live Register in February, down from 46,115 in January. This figure is not the same as the monthly change in the Live Register, which is affected by people closing claims and moving between different schemes.

The number of people signing on for more than a year rose by 3,271 last month and is up 52% over the last 12 months. Long-term claimants now make up almost 37% of the total number of people on the Live Register.

The number of Irish nationals on the Live Register has increased by almost 9,500 over the past 12 months, but the number of non-Irish people signing on has fallen by more than 2,100.