The number of people signing on the Live Register continued its downward trend in March to stand at the lowest level since February 2008.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 2,300 - down 1.2% - in March.

This brought the seasonally adjusted total to 194,800. 

The CSO said that in unadjusted terms, 192,407 people were signing on the Live Register in March, a reduction of 17.2% on the same time last year. 

Today's figures show the number of men signing on the Live Register fell 1.3% in March from February, while the number of women fell  by 1.1%. 

On an annual basis, the number of men on the Live Register decreased by 17.7% in March, while the number of women signing on fell by 16.5%. 

Today's Live Register figures follow statistics from the CSO earlier this week that showed the unemployment rate fell to an 11 year low of 5.4% in March from a rate of 5.6% in February.

The Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment as it includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance.

Today's figures also reveal that the the number of male long term claimants decreased by 20.9% in the year to March, while the number of women claimants fell by 17.8%. This gave an overall annual decrease of 19.7% in the number of long term claimants. 

They also show that the number of youths on the Live Register fell by 18.3% in March. The CSO noted that annual decreases in youth unemployment gave occurred every month since July 2010.