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Jobless numbers fall by 12.5% in year to September.

The unemployment rate for October is now estimated at 7.5%, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO said that in the year to the end of September, the number of unemployed people fell by 25,500 - a drop of 12.5% - to bring the total to 177,700.

This marked the 17th quarter in a row where unemployment has declined on an annual basis. 

Ireland's unemployment has fallen steadily since hitting a peak of 15.1% in early 2012 during the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the number of people in work has risen by 57,500, or 2.9%, over the past year and now stands at 2,040,500.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment rose by 13,500 (0.7%) over the previous quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.9% in the second quarter of 2016.

Most of the rise in employment came from full time work, with full time jobs accounting for 44,800 of the increase, while part time work grew by 12,800.

The biggest rates of increase were seen in the accommodation and food service activities, with employment there up by 9.6%, while the construction sector saw employment growth of 7.3%. 

These are the key findings of the latest Quarterly National Household Survey from the CSO - the official measure of employment and unemployment in the state. 

Today's figures also show the long term unemployment rate fell from 5% to 4.2% over the year to the end of September. 

Long term unemployment accounted for 52% of total unemployment in the third quarter of the year, compared to 54.1% the same time last year and 56.7% in the third quarter of 2014.

The CSO said the total number of people in the labour force in the third quarter of the year was 2,218,200, an increase of 32,200 or 1.5% over the year. 

The number of people classified as unemployed in the third quarter of 2016 stood at 177,700.  

The results of the survey have led the CSO to revise their monthly unemployment estimates for September and October, from 7.9% to 7.7% in September and to 7.5% for October.  

The number of people estimated to be unemployed in October is now put at 164,500.

Irish unemployment is now almost certainly below the EU average. 

In the second quarter of 2016, both the Irish and the EU unemployment rate was 8.6%.  On the basis of available figures, the CSO estimate the EU rate in the third quarter will probably be 8.5%, while the comparable Irish rate is 7.7%.

The highest EU unemployment rate was recorded in Greece at 23%, while the lowest rate was in the Czech Republic at 3.9% 

Meanwhile, the employment rate in Ireland grew by 1.6% over the year to June, to stand at 64.7%, still below the comparable EU average figure of 66.6%.

Commenting on the better than expected figures from the CSO, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said there was an average increase in the numbers at work last year of 49,700, up from 32,700 in 2014.

"Employment prospects look very good again in 2016 due to the strong economic recovery, with a net rise of around 53,000 now forecast," the economist stated. 

"As regards unemployment, we are based on the revised CSO figures looking for an average jobless rate this year of 8% as against 9.5% in 2015. For 2017, a net jobs increase of 35,000 and an average unemployment rate of 7.4% are currently envisaged notwithstanding the Brexit risks," he added.

Meanwhile, Davy economist Conall Mac Coille said today's figures provided further good news on the health of the labour market. 

"The robust 0.7% rise in employment will help allay fears that softness in some Irish economic indicators, especially in the export sector, heralds a sharp slowdown in the economy," Mr Mac Coille said. 

He also noted that for the first time, demographic trends are now helping to the labour force to grow, adding 8,800.