Social Welfare queue, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

The number of people signing on the Live Register fell for the third month in a row and has sparked a debate that the declining figures are the result of emigration.

A drop of 4,200 was recorded in the seasonally adjusted numbers claiming social welfare in November. This is the third month in a row that the total has fallen, however these figures were offset by another 4,600 workers being made redundant.

The decline in people signing on meant the unemployment rate fell from 13.6 to 13.5 percent according to the Central Statistics Office.

Fianna Fail described the news as positive with Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv saying it was a "positive outcome and further evidence that the Live Register is stabilising".

However the opposition disagreed as Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton said the fall was down to the "best and brightest fleeing the country".

"These people are not leaving the Live Register to take up new jobs -- they are leaving the country," he added.

The latest data shows that 65,500 people left Ireland in the twelve months leading up to April 2010.

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) said emigration was a key element to the drop in figures.

"There is simply no evidence that large numbers of jobs are being created, and you can see this in the Government's target to create just 90,000 jobs over the next four years, which is nowhere near the amount needed to bring the numbers on the Live Register down substantially," INOU spokesperson Brid O'Brien said.