Ireland's unemployment rate fell to 11.9 percent in February from a crisis peak of 15.1 percent, according to official figures on Wednesday. The figures from the country's Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that there were 30,807 fewer people on Ireland's Live Register (unemployment figures) last month than in February 2013, and 41,353 fewer than in February 2012. The unemployment rate peaked at 15.1 percent in February 2012. Ireland's Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton welcomed the Live Register figures for February, saying that these are very "encouraging" figures. But she said an 11.9 percent unemployment rate is still far too high. "That is why this year and beyond my absolute priority will be to ensure that the Live Register falls substantially further, with full employment the central target," she added. The Irish minister urged employers to play their part to build on the success to date in getting people back to work. "Employers will be key to this," she said. "We want employers in Ireland to follow the example of their counterparts in countries like Germany and Austria and be willing to give not alone young jobseekers but also long-term unemployed people the necessary work, training and apprenticeship opportunities." Ireland plans to reduce unemployment to below the eurozone average this year, below 10 percent by 2016, and to return to full employment by 2020.