Net emigration of 35,000 to 40,000 people a year has helped to keep unemployment at 14.8% at the end of the second quarter of of this year.
This is despite the number of people in work falling by 1.8% in the year to June.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show the number of people in employment fell by 33,400 in the second quarter of this year.
Most of this was due to a drop in public sector jobs, while the fall in numbers in the private sector slowed to just 0.3% in the year to June.
The Quarterly National Household Survey for the three months from April to June show that a total of 308,500 people were unemployed in the second quarter, up 1.3% on the same time last year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was steady at 14.8% in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the first.
The CSO figures show that the long-term unemployment rate rose from 7.7% to 8.8% over the year.
The long term unemployed now account for 59.9% of the total amount of unemployed, this compares to 43% in the second quarter of 2012.
The figures also reveal that the total number of people in employment in the three months from April to June fell by 1.8% (or 33,400) to stand at 1,787,900.
The CSO notes that the fall in employment was most heavily concentrated in the 20-24 and 25-34 age groups.
Employment fell in ten of the 14 economic sectors over the year, according to the CSO. The biggest falls were seen in the administrative and support services activities, which saw numbers down by 8.8%. This was followed by financial, insurance and real estate activities (down 7%) and construction (down 6.5%).
The largest increase was recorded in the accommodation and food service activities where employment levels rose by 5.9%.
Full-time employment fell by 31,700 over the year from 1,395,900 to 1,364,200. Part-time employment also fell by 1,800 on an annual basis from 425,400 to 423,600.
The CSO noted that full-time employment has been falling almost continuously since peaking in the third quarter of 2007 with a total decrease of 22.7% being recorded in the second quarter of 2012.
Goodbody chief economist Dermot O'Leary described the National Household Survey numbers as "disappointing" given the resilient performance of GDP and more timely PMI surveys in the first half of the year.
He said: "Given the slew of job announcements from the multi-national sector it is disappointing that employment trends have actually deteriorated further in the first half of the year.
"Clearly, falling domestic demand, fiscal consolidation and banking sector restructuring is taking its toll and will continue to do so.
"It will be a long haul back to full employment and policy efforts must focus on reducing the longer-term risks to the economy associated with the large increase in long-term unemployment."