The number of people on Government-funded ‘activation’ training courses has risen to 88,398, official figures show.
The CSO said the number had risen in April by 2,809 from the 85,589 people participating on the programmes last year — the most recent month for which figures are available.
The programmes are primarily targeted at helping people who have been unemployed for over a year and to assist lone parents to sharpen their skills to find a job, but do not count in the official Live Register figures.
The number on the programmes has soared by about 31,500 since the eve of the crash, in early 2007, and, at over 85,000, are now the equivalent to the population of Galway or Derry City.
The CSO said yesterday that on a seasonally-adjusted basis the numbers of people on the up-to-date Live Register in May fell 2,600 to 347,100, and were down by 43,500 in the year.
Its unadjusted figures showed the claimant count had increased in the month by 2,082 to 345,633, but were down 43,131 from May 2014.
The CSO now publishes the jobless rate separately from the Live Register. It said earlier this week that the unemployment rate stood in May at 9.8%, unchanged from April.
The CSO figures show that those professions most closely linked to the boom-time sectors are still the most likely to be facing long-term unemployment.
Despite recent decreases, there were 67,822 craft and related staff claimants, accounting for almost 20% of all people on the Live Register in May. At 56,523, plant and machine operatives accounted for the second largest group, or almost 16.5% of all claimants.
The third largest group was personal and protective services, at 43,297 people, or 12.5% of the Live Register.
At 42,018, the category of “other occupation” was the fourth largest, accounting for 12.2% of the claimant count, while, at 38,356, sales staff was the fourth largest group on the Live Register, accounting for over 11% of all claimants.
The IMF and EU bailout lenders have repeatedly called on the Government to use activation programmes as a way to help people who had lost their jobs during the crash to find work.
However, Isme — the small and medium-sized business group — claimed that the activation programmes were not working to reduce the long-term unemployed.