New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August fell to 5.6% from the revised rate of 5.8% in July.

The jobless rate has fallen from 6.6% a year ago and a financial crisis-peak of 16% in 2012, when the country was in the middle of a three-year international bailout.

The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed stood at 133,800 in August, down from 138,900 compared to the July figure.

Today's figures show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men was 5.8% in August, down from 6.9% the same time last year year, while the unemployment rate for women fell to 5.3% from 6.2% last year.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate stood at 13.9% in August, down from 14.4% the previous month.

Commenting on the figures, Chief Economist with Merrion Capital Alan McQuaid said the number of people out of work in August was a "much lower figure than we had anticipated".

"The August jobless rate was the lowest since April 2008 and an almost ten-and-a-half percentage point improvement from the peak of 16.0% hit in January/February 2012 during the financial crisis," he said.

"Furthermore, Ireland’s jobless rate remains over two-and-a-half percentage points below the current Euro zone average of 8.2%.

"Although emigration has been a factor to some degree in keeping unemployment down since the financial crisis, the labour market has improved dramatically over the past few years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery.

"Indeed, the latest migration estimates showed net inward migration of 34,000 in the year to April 2018 as against net inward migration of 19,800 in 2017, and the highest net inflow since 2008," Mr McQuaid added.