Israel’s unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, according to the most recent figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics. The figures for January, the latest available, showed that the unemployment rate that month was 3.7 percent – considered very close to the level of “full employment” – and down from the 4 percent mark in December. The last time the unemployment rate was this low in Israel was in the early 1970s. The lowest unemployment rate on record was 3.4 percent, in September 1973 – right before the Yom Kippur War.
The number of unemployed fell to 148,000, while the labor force stood at over 4 million in January. For the first time, there were more women working than men – 1,840,000 versus 1,820,000, according to the numbers. Unemployment among men was 3.5 percent, while for women the rate was 3.8 percent.
There were other positive signs for the economy: High-tech exports were up 7.5 percent over the three months preceding January, while credit card transactions for the period were up 5.3 percent. Sales in national chains rose 3.2 percent, industrial output rose 2.1 percent, and receipts for all businesses in the economy (except diamonds) rose 1.1 percent, with retail receipts up 2.1 percent.
Commenting on the statistics, Economy Minister Eli Cohen said that the positive results were the “fruit of the hard work the government is putting into the economy. These figures are proof that we are treading a wise path in our economic policies. We will continue to follow these policies to continue and improve the economy, so that benefits can reach all sectors, including the periphery.”