Ireland's unemployment rate rises to 14.4 percent

By the Associated Press | November 3, 2011 | 9:00 AM EDT

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland says its unemployment rate has risen to 14.4 percent with more than 430,000 people claiming welfare for joblessness.

The Central Statistics Office says in a report Thursday that unemployment edged up last month from the previous rate of 14.3 percent. That is third highest in the 17-nation eurozone next to Spain and Estonia.

Business leaders are pleading with the government to unveil jobs-creation projects, particularly labor market reforms, as part of its next budget being unveiled Dec. 6.

Ireland is midway through a planned 2009-2015 austerity push triggered by a crippling bank-bailout program. It is committed to pruning more than euro3.5 billion ($5 billion) from its 2012 deficit under terms of last year's EU-IMF bailout agreement.