The number of people officially unemployed fell by more than 9% in the year to the end of the first quarter of 2013, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The CSO said there was a drop of almost 30,000 people to 292,000, the first time the figure has fallen below 300,000 since the start of 2010.
The Quarterly National Household Survey also shows the number of people in long-term unemployment dropped by just under 24,000 or 11.6% by the end of March.
Brian Ring, from the CSO, said the number of people in employment is increasing.
He said: "Employment rose by 1.1% or 20,500 over the year to Q1, 2013, and as I mentioned that is the second successive quarter showing an annual increase in employment.
"It follows on from an increase of 0.1% in Q4, 2012."