New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the numbers signing on the Live Register in June fell by 4,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

This brings the Live Register total to 386,200 - its lowest total in over five years.

June marked the 24th monthly decrease in a row, while it was also the fifth time in a row that the adjusted total was below the 400,000 mark.

The CSO said that in unadjusted terms, a total of 398,813 people were signing on in June, down 8.4% on the same time last year.

The standardised unemployment rate in June eased to 11.6% from 11.7% in May.

Breaking down the figures, they show that the number of male claimants fell by 10.4% to 242,697 in the year to June, while female claimants were down by 5.1% to 156,116.

They also reveal that the number of long term claimants signing on decreased by 4.4% in the year to June.

Commenting on today's figures, Investec economist Philip O'Sullivan said that emigration continues to have an influence on the headline numbers. 

The CSO noted that in the year to June the number of people aged 25 and over on the Live Register decreased by 7.3%, and the number of persons aged under 25 decreased by 13.8% as many young people continue to emigrate. 

The economist also pointed to the challenge of addressing the long-term unemployed. In June some 188,858 people or 47.4% of the total had been continually on the Live Register for one year or more. "While the underlying trends in the Irish labour market are positive, much remains to be done in order to address the legacy challenges from the economic downturn," he added.

Having hit a crisis high of 15.1% in February 2012, the unemployment rate has since then started to drop steadily, a sign that the labour market is on the road to recovery, though the jobless rate still remains a lot higher than desirable. 

"If things continue to improve at the same speed, the unemployment rate could get down to 11% by year-end," predicted Merrion economist Alan McQuaid.