New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the unemployment rate, including those receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefit, fell slightly to 24.8% in February from 25.1% in January.
The CSO said the Covid-19 crisis continued to have a significant impact on the labour market here last month.
But it added that the “true” jobless rate is lower than that as one-third of Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) recipients are full-time students, who would not normally be classified as unemployed.
Excluding all those on the PUP, the CSO said that 5.8% of the workforce were registered as unemployed for the third successive month.
The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed stood at 140,800 in February, down from the figure of 141,800 in January.
Today’s figures show that the unemployment rate for men stood at 5.9% in February, while it was 5.7% for women.
Breaking down the figures by age, the unemployment rate was 15.1% for people aged 15 to 24 years and 4.7% for people from the age of 25 and upwards.
The CSO also said that the Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicated a jobless rate of 56.8% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 21.1% for those aged 25 to 74 years.
The figures also showed a jobless rate of 25.4% for men and 24% for women.
Jack Kennedy, economist at global job site Indeed, said that this time last year Ireland was not far off full employment with the unemployment rate standing at 5%.
“Today, if we use the Covid adjusted measure, that figure is 24.8%, an increase no one would have predicted,” Jack Kennedy said.
“It would have been hard to imagine then that most workers would now be successfully working remotely or that some of Ireland’s most robust sectors, such as hospitality, would be hit so badly,” he added.
Mr Kennedy said that while the announcement of lockdown extensions brings more difficult news on top of an incredibly trying year, the decision by the Government to extend financial supports is a positive move.
He said the supports have provided a much needed lifeline during this time and are crucial to keep employees connected to the workforce, which will help jump start the economy when businesses reopen.
“This is particularly important for employees in lower paying, people facing jobs who have been most affected during this time,” the economist said.
“The pandemic has hit the most vulnerable hardest and ensuring they can return to work quickly when safe to do so will avoid them falling into long term unemployment,” he added.