The Government has revised its forecast for economic growth down slightly, predominantly as a result of external risks. 

According to the Department of Finance, GDP will increase by 3.9% this year, down from the 4.2% estimate in Budget 2019. 

Next year the department estimates GDP will grow by 3.3% compared to the 3.6% projected in the budget. 

The revisions reflect a deterioration in the main markets that Irish firms export to, particularly the UK and euro area. 

Some domestic indicators have also moderated in recent months, it says. 

Unemployment will average 5.4% this year, according to the forecast, as the labour market and employment continues to grow strongly.  

The number of people without work will continue to fall, it projects, reaching 5% by 2023. 

The data is contained in the Stability Programme Update (SPU) 2019, presented to the Cabinet this morning by the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. 

The SPU sets out updated macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts for the period 2019-2023. 

Its findings form the backdrop of policies that will be outlined in the next Summer Economic Statement. 

According to the analysis, which is to be submitted to the European Commission by the end of April, employment will continue to grow past its pre-crisis peak, specifically by 2.2% this year and 2.1% next year.

The Department says a general government surplus of 0.2% of GDP is forecast for this year, following the exchequer's move back into the black last year, an improvement on the budget day prediction. 

This, it says, is the result of stronger than previously assumed revenue from corporation tax. 

Minister Donohoe welcomed the statement, but cautioned against taking anything for granted. 

"We cannot be complacent, however, as there are serious risks on the horizon, not least of which is the nature and timing of the UK's exit from the European Union," he said.

"It is absolutely vital that we continue to build up our fiscal defences, so that we can continue to support the economy, and provide for society, if, and when, these risks materialise," the Minister added.