New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people signing on the Live Register fell  by 3,700 in October to stand at 409,900 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The number of people signing on has now fallen for the 16th month in a row. The Live Register figures are now almost 9% below the high of 449,400 seen in August 2011.

However, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said unemployment remained "unacceptably high" despite the fall.

The CSO also said that in unadjusted terms, the number of people on the Live Register fell by 5.6% to 396,512 - the first month since May 2009 that the unadjusted total has been below 400,000.

The standardised unemployment rate in October eased to 13.2% from 13.3% in September - its lowest level since March 2010.

Breaking down the CSO figures, they show that on a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register recorded a monthly decrease of 2,900 male claimants this month, while female claimants rose by 700.

They also show that the number of long term claimants on the Live Register in October stood at 182,401. The number of male claimants fell by 5.6% while the number of female claimants rose by 3.2%.

In the year to October 2013, the number of people aged 25 and over on the dole decreased by 4.7% and the number of people under the age of 25 fell  by 10.5% as high emigration levels continues to exist among this age group.

Commenting on today's figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that while emigration has clearly been a factor in bringing the unemployment figures down, there are encouraging signs on the labour market front. 

He said that the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey showed a year-on-year net increase of 33,800 in employment in the second quarter of 2013 after a gain of 20,500 in the first quarter. But, unlike the first quarter, most of the annual increase in the second quarter was in full-time rather than part-time jobs. 

"Slowly but surely, overall labour market trends are getting better, though it is still likely to be a few years before the jobless rate is back in single digits," the economist added.

Investec's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said it was encouraging that the pace of reduction in the Live Register has been accelerating of late.

He noted that in the first half of the year, monthly net outflows averaged 1,500 but since then the pace has more than doubled to 3,125 since the beginning of the second half.

"The recent upturn in Ireland’s economic fortunes has helped to reduce the unemployment problem in Ireland, but the rising tide has, as yet, failed to lift all boats," Mr O'Sullivan said. 

"Time will tell if the improving economic outlook and the Government measures (in the Budget) help to put the long-term unemployed back to work and provide opportunities in Ireland for the young," he added.