Ireland is heading towards full employment, according to the Republic’s Irish jobs minister.
Nearly 70,000 more people are now in work in the Republic of Ireland since this time last year.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office also show that three out of every four new jobs were created outside Dublin.
Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the figures.
“These figures are very positive and show that we are heading in the right direction towards full employment,” said the minister.
“The figures show that businesses right across the country are employing and that government policies are working.
“It is very important for me to see the growth in employment is broad based, both sectorally and regionally. This is a key priority for me as every job that is created is transforming people’s lives.”
The Quarterly National Household Survey stats show that employment continues to increase strongly with 68,600 more people in work at the end of the first three months of 2017.
There has also been strong growth in the number of people in full-time employment while part-time employment continues to fall.
Employment grew in 11 out of 14 economic sectors – the largest annual increases were recorded in the industry sector, construction and accommodation and food services.
The figures also show that there are 2,045,100 employed across the country, while the unemployment figure stands at 146,200.
Unemployment has continued to fall since reaching its peak of 15.1 percent in 2012. It now stands at 6.8 percent. This is the nineteenth quarter in a row that unemployment has fallen on an annual basis.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Jobs and Finance, Niall Collins, said that although there has been “a lot of back-slapping and self-congratulations by government ministers” long-term unemployment still had to be addressed.
“Those who are unemployed on a long-term basis risk permanent skill loss-making their return to future employment even less likely,” he said.
“In turn, they may leave the labor market altogether resulting in socio-economic damage to them, their families and our country.”
This article originally featured in the Irish Echo. You can read more from them here.