New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the numbers signing on the Live Register fell by 4,700 in September to give a seasonally adjusted total of 374,800.

September marked the 27th month of declines in a row on the Live Register and the figure was the register's lowest total since March 2009.

The CSO said the standardised unemployment rate eased to 11.1% last month from 11.2% in August - well below the euro zone average of 11.5%.

Today's figures show that the number of men signing on fell by 11.5% in the year to September, while the number of female claimants fell by 6.1%.

They also reveal that the number of long term claimants fell by 5.6% in the year to September to stand at 178,388.

Commenting on today's 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 couple of years, there is clear evidence that there is more to it than just that. 

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

Mr McQuaid said he thinks the level of unemployment will continue to fall in the final quarter of 2014, dropping to 10.8% by the close of the year.

"As regards the average rate for this year, we are looking for a figure of 11.4%, down from 13.1% in 2013. Assuming the economy continues to grow strongly in 2015, an average jobless rate of close to 10.0% is envisaged for next year," he added.