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Irish Unemployment Rate Falls for First Time in Seven Months

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s unemployment rate dropped for the first time in seven months in September as fewer people in “professional” and “clerical” occupations claimed jobless benefits.

The rate declined to 13.7 percent from 13.8 percent in August, the Central Statistics Office in Cork said on its website today. The last decrease was recorded in February. Seasonally adjusted jobless claims fell by 5,400 to 449,600.

Irish unemployment more than doubled in the last two years as the country suffered the worst recession in its modern history. A recovery has been delayed by a property crash that has seen real-estate values drop by half. All nine occupational groups showed decreases in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits during the month, the figures show.

“It’s a bit of good news at last,” Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers in Dublin, said by telephone. “The jobless rate has fallen, which psychologically is a good thing.”

Some of the decline is probably related to people going back to education and part-time work as schools resumes following the summer, McQuaid said. He expects unemployment to peak at 14 percent next year.

Stream Global Services Inc. said in July it will create 425 jobs in Dublin in the next year. Tesco Plc, the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain, said in July it will invest 113 million euros ($154 million) in new Irish stores next year, creating 748 jobs.

The largest decline was in the professional group, where claims fell 14 percent, followed by the clerical and secretarial group, with a 12 percent drop, according to the report.

A 0.4 percent decrease in long-term claimants during the month “is a welcome surprise,” Aidan Corcoran, an economist at Dublin-based securities firm Davy, said in a research note. “We expected the peak in the long-term unemployment rate to lag the peak in the general unemployment rate.”

According to a separate report published on Sept. 21, Ireland’s unemployment rate climbed to 13.6 percent in the second quarter of the year from 12.9 percent in the first.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louisa Fahy in Dublin at lnesbitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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