New figures from the Central Statistics Office show the number of people signing on the Live Register in December continued to fall as the economy gathers strength. 

Today's CSO figures show that the number of people signing on the Live Register fell by 2,900 - down 1.2% - in December. This brought the total number signing on to 241,300 - the lowest figure since August 2008.

The CSO said that in unadjusted terms, 236,268 persons were signing on the Live Register in December, down 14.6% on the same month in 2016.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of men signing on in December fell by 1,800 while the number of women was down by 900.

Meanwhile, the number of long term claimants on the Live Register in December fell by 18.3% to 97,918, while the number of persons aged under 25 decreased by 18.5%.  

The CSO noted that annual decreases in youth unemployment has occurred every month since July 2010.  

The percentage of persons aged under 25 on the Live Register now stands at 10.4%, down from 11.0% in December 2016 and 12% in December 2015. 

The Live Register includes part-time workers, as well as seasonal and casual workers who are entitled to jobseeker's benefit or jobseeker's allowance.