Irish Unemployment Drops to Near Nine-Year Low as Economy Surges

Ireland’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in nearly nine years in February, another step on the road to recovery from the nation’s worst economic crisis on record.

Unemployment dropped to 6.6 percent this month, the Central Statistics Office said in Dublin on Tuesday. That fell from a revised 6.7 percent rate a month earlier, and is the lowest since July 2008. The jobless rate peaked at 15.2 percent in January 2012.

The overall drop as well as a fall in youth unemployment “augurs well for 2017 despite Brexit worries,” Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion, the Dublin-based securities firm. “The labor market has improved dramatically over the past three years or so, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery.”

The number of unemployed people has fallen by a fifth in the past 12 months to 145,100, and Ireland may add more jobs from financial firms seeking a base in the European Union following Brexit. Goodbody Stockbrokers estimates that Dublin could gain as many as 15,000 financial jobs from Brexit, with companies like Morgan Stanley said to be weighing moving roles to the Irish capital.

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