New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the official unemployment rate decreased from 5.2% to 4.9% between the second and third quarters of this year.

The CSO's latest Labour Force survey figures show that unemployment decreased by 15,800, or 11%, in the year to the third quarter, bringing the total number of people without a job to 128,000.

This is the 29th quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis, but the rate of unemployment was lower during the boom which suggests there is still more room for more jobs to be created in the economy. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of people who were unemployed in the third quarter decreased by 4,900 to 120,000, the CSO said today.

The Labour Force Survey is the official source of data for employment and unemployment in Ireland.

Its latest findings show that the number of people who were employed in the third quarter stood at 2,326,900 -  the highest number ever - and an increase of 2.4% or 53,700 from the same time last year.

The CSO said that when adjusted for seasonal factors, employment increased by 0.8% or 17,300 between the second and third quarters of this year. 

During the three months from July to September, the CSO said the total number of people in the labour force rose by 1.6% to 2,454,900 from the same three month period in 2018. 

It added that the number of people not in the labour force stood at 1,470,700, up 1.9% from a year ago.

Today's figures also show that the long-term unemployment rate decreased from 2.1% in the third quarter of last year to 1.4% this year.

Long-term unemployment accounted for 27.3% of total unemployment in the third quarter of 2019.

They also reveal that unemployment for men decreased by 5.3% to 72,400 over the year to the third quarter, while female unemployment decreased by 17.4% to 55,600.

Commenting on today's CSO figures, the Minister for Finance said that despite the country continuing to face a highly uncertain macroeconomic situation - including Brexit - it is encouraging that the labour market appears to be performing steadily.

Paschal Donohoe said the country is now closer to full-employment than at any time since the onset of the crisis in 2008.

"At this crucial juncture, it is imperative that economic policy supports continued growth in a sustainable way, protecting the economy against external risks while managing the risk of potential overheating," he added.