The latest live register figures show that Laois has experienced an annual drop of almost 17 percent in the numbers signing on at the county's three social welfare offices.
According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 5,639 people signing on in Laois in March, 3,232 men and 2,407 women.
This broke down to 2,894 in Portlaoise (1,679 men and 1,215 women), 1,960 in Portarlington (1,115 men and 845 women), and 785 in Rathdowney (438 men and 347 women).
This was down 1,123, or 16.6 percent, from the previous year, with the figures for March, 2016, showing a total of 6,762 on the register, 3,957 men and 2,805 women.
This broke down as 3,378 in Portlaoise (1,984 men and 1,394 women), 2,428 in Portarlington (1,399 men and 1,029 women), and 956 in Rathdowney (574 men and 382 women).
The March figure is also down 195, or 3.3 percent, from February, when there were 5,834 people signing on at the county’s three social welfare offices, 3,319 men and 2,515 women.
This broke down as 2,981 in Portlaoise (1,719 men and 1,262 women), 2,032 in Portarlington (1,142 men and 890 women), and 821 in Rathdowney (458 men and 363 women).
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted number of males unemployed in March 2017 was 83,500. This is a decrease of 2,200 when compared to the February 2017 figure of 85,700. In March 2017 the seasonally adjusted number of females unemployed was 57,900, a decrease of 1,100 when compared to February 2017.
As always, a comparison with the state of things back during the boom years shows that the State still has a way to go before full economic recovery, with the current figure 285 percent what it was a decade ago.
A look back to March 2006 reveals there were just 1,978 on the register in Laois, 1,091 men and 887 women.
Breaking this down, there were 897 in Portlaoise (499 men and 398 women), 760 in Portarlington (401 men and 359 women), and 321 in Rathdowney (191 men and 130 women).