Unemployment rate up to 7.7% at end of 2008

Ireland's official unemployment rate increased to 7.7% at the end of last year, according to the CSO's latest Quarterly National Household Survey.

The statistics agency says more than 170,000 people were unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2008, an increase of almost 70% during the year.

The unemployment rate among men was 9.2% and 5.4% among women.

Just over two million people were in employment in the fourth quarter of the year, down almost 87,000 from the same period in 2007.

This is the largest decline since the CSO began compiling the figures in 1975.

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