Employment increased by 20,500 in the year to the first quarter of 2013, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

This is a rise in employment of 1.1%.

Employment increased by 7,700 in the first quarter of this year, following on from an increase of 12,100 in the final quarter of 2012.

The numbers unemployed has fallen by 29,900 over the same period, bringing the number of full time unemployed to 292,000 - the first time it has gone below 300,000 since 2010.

The unemployment rate recorded by the CSO is now 13.7%

However, the figures show there was a fall in full-time employment of 3,700 over the year, which was offset by a rise in part-time employment of 24,200.

The long-term unemployment rate fell over the year from 9.5% to 8.4%.

Long-term unemployed account for 61.8% of all unemployed.