The unemployment rate declined marginally in December to 4.3% from 4.4% in November, according to the Central Statistics Office.
This compares to a rate of 5.1% in December 2021.
It’s also lower than the 4.8% recorded in December 2019, before the pandemic.
The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed was 114,500 in December last year, down from 117,000 in November.
This was 18,600 fewer people unemployed compared to December 2021.
The numbers published by the CSO today are estimates and will be finalised when the quarterly Labour Force Survey is published later this year.
“Despite fears that particularly weak consumer sentiment and job loss announcements in the tech sector would start to bleed into labour market data, today’s unemployment figures continue to demonstrate resilience,” said Andrew Webb, Chief Economist at Grant Thornton Ireland.
“Unemployment is now back at pre-pandemic levels and while concerns around inflation and a potential economic slowdown continue a labour market downturn is not baked in.
“Indeed, the strength of the labour market is once again shifting the narrative towards labour shortages, a view supported by Grant Thornton’s latest Irish Business Voice survey that identified staff recruitment and retention as one of the key areas of concern facing Irish Businesses,” he added.
Jack Kennedy, economist at Indeed.com, said the labour market would be starting the new year from a strong position to weather economic headwinds in 2023.
“Unemployment of 4.3% in December is encouraging but the coming months will be crucial in determining how the economy will perform as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis continue to adversely impact the Irish economy,” he said.
He added that increased participation had emerged as one of the main drivers behind the rapid rebound in the Irish labour market.
“This was driven by an increase in participation rates particularly among females and youths, as well as the rise in flexible working arrangements,” Mr Kennedy said.
“By Q3 2022 there were over 2.55 million people in employment, a record level. As demand for employees remains high, it makes sense to further explore what can be done to tap into those would-be workers who would like to get jobs but face barriers.”