The number of people signing on the Live Register in April fell by 3,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis to stand at 392,700 - its lowest total in five years.

April also marked the 22nd monthly decrease in a row and it was the third time in a row that the adjusted total was below the 400,000 level.

Today's figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in unadjusted terms, a total of 388,559 people were signing on in April, a decrease of 29,034 or 7% on the same time last year.

The standardised unemployment rate in April fell to 11.7% from 11.8% in March.

Commenting on the figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that while emigration has been a contributory factor in bringing down the numbers on the Live Register over the past two years or so, there is clear evidence that there is more to it than just that.

He said that employment conditions in the majority of sectors in the economy have generally improved in the past few months.

Breaking down the figures, they show that the number of male claimants fell by 9.6% to 239,541 in the year to April, while female claimants decreased by 2.3% to 149,018.

They also show that the number of long-term claimants fell by 4.2% to 178,225.

The number of male long-term claimants decreased by 7.1% in the year to April, while the number of women claimants increased by 2.5%.