Seasonally adjusted figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people signing rose for the fourth month in a row in August.

The CSO said the Live Register rose by 1,600 from July to reach 449,600. Women accounted for three-quarters of the increase in August. The estimated unemployment rate moved up slightly from 14.3% in July to 14.4% in August.

Despite August's rise, the CSO says the Live Register figure has stayed within a relatively narrow range over the past 12 months.

The headline figure, which does not take seasonal changes into account, fell by just over 500 from July to 469,713. The figure is little changed compared with July last year.

Long-term claimants - those signing on for more than a year - continue to make up more than 40% of the total number of people on the Live Register. Their number increased by just over 1,500 in August.

The CSO said that there were 32,327 new claimants on the Live Register in August, down from 54,123 in July. 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 Live Register includes some part-time and seasonal workers and does not measure unemployment.