The number of people signing on the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 3,000 - a fall of 1.2% - in January, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

This brought the seasonally adjusted total to 238,400 - the lowest number since August 2008.

The CSO said that in unadjusted terms there were 237,386 persons signing on the Live Register in January, down 14.3% on the same time last year.

Today's figures also show that the number of male claimants decreased by 15.3% to 136,735 in the year to January, while women signing on fell by 12.9% to 100,651. 

Meanwhile, the number of long term claimants on the Live Register last month stood at 98,007, down 17.8% from the same time last year.

And the number of people aged under 25 on the Live Register were down by 18.4%, continuing a downward trend which started in July 2010. 

The percentage of youth unemployment on the Live Register stood at 10.8% in January, down from 11.3% in January 2017 and 12.4% in January 2016. 

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.