Ireland’s unemployment rate has decreased for the first time in seven months. Figures released yesterday from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), show that the unemployment rate in September was 13.7% down from 13.8% in August.

These statistics are represented by a monthly decrease of 5,400 people signing on the live register. The number of people on the live register now stands at just over 440,000. The largest decline was represented by the professional group where claims fell by 14%. Claimants from the clerical and secretarial group witnessed a 12% drop according to the new data.

The CSO figures also showed that one third of those on the live register are long term unemployed after repeatedly signing on for more than one year.

Commenting in the decrease, the opposition said that the decline was caused by a rise in emigration. Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton said “It reflects the scourge of rising emigration”.

“The number of Irish people leaving the country is up by a staggering 33% year-on-year. The impact of emigration is reflected in a drop in unemployment among the young and the non-Irish in these latest figures,” he said.

The Live Register figures include the unemployed as well as part-time, seasonal and casual workers who receive job-seekers benefit or allowance.