Number of jobless at lowest since financial crisis

The unemployment rate is now below 8%

Ireland's unemployment rate is now at its lowest since the financial crisis in 2008, according to revised figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The rate fell below 8% in April for the first time since the recession took hold - the new CSO figure of 7.9% follows an earlier estimate of 8.4%.

The amount of people finding work is accelerating, with employment set to break the two million mark in a matter of months.

Some 15,000 jobs were filled in the first quarter of 2016, bringing the total employed to 1,976,500. This was broken down as a 2.1% increase in full-time employment and a 3.7% increase in part-time employment.

The net increase for 2016 is expected to be 44,000.

Youth unemployment was at 16.9% in the year to the first quarter 2016, down from 21.5% in the previous 12 months.

Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion stockbrokers, said:

"Consecutive gains in employment have been posted in the past three years and the Department of Finance is projecting that Ireland will pass the two million people in employment mark in 2016 and replace all of the jobs lost during the downturn by 2018.

"All in all, it is hard to disagree with this assumption".