The number of unemployed people in Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in a decade.
However, youth unemployment remains unacceptably high and must be tackled urgently, according to a leading economist.
The rate of unemployment for January dropped to 6.1%, down from 6.2% in December.
The last time unemployment was at this level was in June 2008, just before the start of the financial crisis. In January of last year, it stood at 7.4%.
According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, the number of unemployed in January was 143,700, down from 146,700 in December, and a decrease of 28,600, when compared to January, 2017.
In January, 2018 the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5% for males, down from 6.6% in December 2017, and down from 7.5% in January 2017.
The rate for females, in January 2018, was 5.6%, down from 5.8% in December, and down from 7.3% in January 2017.
The seasonally adjusted number of males unemployed in January 2018 was 83,600, down from 84,600 in December. In January, the seasonally adjusted number of females unemployed was 60,100, a decrease of 2,000, when compared to December.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for persons aged 15-24 years (youth-unemployment rate) was 13.7% in January, a decrease from 13.8% in December.
Youth unemployment, for those between the ages of 15 to 24, remained stubbornly high, at 13.7%, in January, but there was a slight reduction from the December figure of 13.8%.
Alan McQuaid, chief economist with Merrion, described the youth unemployment rate as far too high and said it had to be addressed, with urgency, by the Government.
“The Government needs to put particular focus on getting this rate down into single digits as quickly as possible.
“The problem is that a lot of these people need upskilling, or retraining into areas where work is available, and that won’t happen overnight,” he said.
“We are, at this juncture, forecasting a jobless rate of 5.5% for 2018,” he added.
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