New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the Live Register recorded a monthly decrease of 700 in May.

This brings the seasonally adjusted total to 426,100.

The CSO said that in unadjusted terms, the numbers on the Live Register fell by 11,170 (2.6%) to stand at 421,737 on an annual basis.

The standardised unemployment rate in May stood at 13.7%, unchanged from the revised April rate.

Economists expect the numbers on the Live Register, which includes part-time, seasonal and casual workers but is not seen as a fully accurate measure of unemployment, to fall to 420,000 by the end of the year.

The CSO figures show that the number of long term claimants on the Live Register rose by 1,7% to 191,997 in May. The number of long term male claimants fell by 0.9% but the number of females who are long term unemployed rose by 8.3%.

In the year to May, the number of people aged 25 and over on the Live Register fell by 1,6% and the number of people aged under 25 fell by 7.3%. The CSO noted that annual decreases in youth unemployment have been seen in every month since July 2010.

ISME has warned the Government of ''complacency'' in analysing the latest Live Register figures.

While it welcomed the slight reduction in unemployment, ISME called for renewed efforts to create an environment conducive to job creation. ''The facts still remain that our competitors have lower business costs and welfare, creating an advantage for them in shared markets,'' a statement from the association said.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that increased emigration and people staying on longer in education are clearly factors that have contributed to the recent drop in the Live Register.

He also noted that'' worryingly'', the number of long-term claimants on the Live Register in May moved up to 191,997 from 186,063 in April.

''This figure remains far too high for comfort and something that Ireland’s Troika creditors of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund have consistently highlighted needs to be tackled,'' he added.

Merrion noted that the average unemployment rate in 2012 was 14.7%, compared to 14.6% in 2011, 13.8% in 2010, 12.0% in 2009 and just 6.4% in 2008. ''However, last year is forecast to be the worst of it, with the jobless rate appearing as though it has peaked. We are looking for some improvement in 2013 with the average jobless rate now projected to fall back to 13.6%,'' Mr McQuaid said.

Investec economist Philip O'Sullivan also noted that 45.5% of claimants on the Live Register had been continually registered for at least one year in May, up from 44.6% the same time last year. ''Tackling this remains a major priority for policymakers,'' the economist stated.

''Looking ahead to the remainder of 2013, we expect to see further declines in the Live Register, with the ongoing recovery in private sector hiring set to become a more important driver of this as the year goes on,'' he added.