The country's unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in May from 4.8% in April to return to the level it stood at before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, new figures from the Central Statistics Office showed today.

The last time the unemployment rate was lower than 4.7% was in November 2006, towards the end of the "Celtic Tiger" economic boom years.

The unemployment rate had stood at 6.9% in May last year.

The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed stood at 127,500 in May, down from 129,900 in April.

When compared to May last year, there was an annual decrease of 46,700 in the seasonally adjusted number of people who were without a job, the CSO added.

Today's figures show that the the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7% for men, down from 4.9% in April and down from 7% in May 2021.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for women fell to 4.6% from 4.7% in April and down from 6.8% in May last year.

The CSO noted that the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate decreased to 4.9% in May from 5.6% the previous month.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for people between the age of 25 to 74 stood at 4.6% in May, down from 4.7% in April.

Commenting on today's figures, Jack Kennedy, economist at global job site Indeed, said that fears about the rising cost of living and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine failed to dent the positive employment trend.

Jack Kennedy said that employment trends are still positive, but Indeed's data shows that employers hiring demands have eased in recent weeks as downside risks to the economy have grown.

"Notably, the inflow of new job postings has slowed. But employers are still actively hiring, with the level of Irish job postings on Indeed up 57% at 27 May 2022, compared to 1 February 2020," he said.

The economist said that while recruitment pressure in some job categories has eased, the inflationary backdrop and skills shortage in some areas means employers in categories like tech, pharma and engineering will still be facing challenges in finding suitable candidates.

He also said that the high rate of price inflation has prompted fears of a "wage price spiral".

"But Indeed data to date shows wage growth continuing to lag well behind inflation. Analysis of advertised wages in job postings in April points to wage growth of 3.6% year on year, although a handful of occupations are seeing faster wage growth: food service (6.3%) and sales (5.8%)," he added.