The Central Statistics Office has said that the rate of unemployment was 14.9% in June, up from 14.7% in May.

This is the third month in a row that the rate of unemployment has risen marginally.

The seasonally adjusted figure shows a rise of 2,700 in June 2012 bringing the total number signing on the Live Register to 440,600.

The adjusted rate of unemployment in June 2012 was 0.5% higher than June 2011.

The number of long term claimants, those on the live register for more than a year increased from May to June by 10,520 to 199,249. The vast majority, 170,015 of those are over 25.

The long term claimants have increased by 12,606 (6.8%) since June 2011.

The live register includes part time workers, seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance.

The Live Register showed a monthly increase of 800 males in June, half the number of women, up 1,900 females.

The unadjusted figure recorded a fall of 5,974 (-1.3%) in June.

Unemployment is officially measured by the Quarterly National Household survey and the latest estimated number of persons unemployed as of the first quarter of 2012 was 309,000.

The number of male claimants has decreased by 3.2% over the year and the number of female claimants has increased by 2.1% in the same period.

ISME and SFA worried by long term unemployment

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association has called on the Government to tackle the social welfare trap and business costs.

It notes the 6.8% increase in the number of long term unemployed and says that unless significant changes are made to the welfare system, many of the long term-unemployed will simply remain on the dole.

ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding said that "The Government's plan for jobs is a shambles as the conflicting camps within cabinet propose polar opposite strategies, increasing economic uncertainty, consumer confusion and fear of investment.

The Small Firms Association said that today's figures were disappointing but not surprising. They described the labour market as fragile and that the 6.8% increase in long term unemployed is a major concern.

Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist with Davy noted that the numbers on the Live Register have actually fallen in the first six months of the year from 442,100 to 440,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Despite that, he expects unemployment to increase overall in 2012