Unemployment figures for November showed an improvement in the job market, with the unemployment rate falling to a seasonally adjusted 6.7 percent from 6.9% a month earlier, according to data the Central Bureau of Statistics released Monday.
Though the unemployment figure can sometimes mask underlying weaknesses in the labor market, the November figures also showed improvement in the overall labor force participation rate, which rose .2% to 63.9%. The figures demonstrate that more people were actively seeking and successfully finding work in November than in October.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the news, praising both Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer for their "responsible economic leadership."
"In 2009, unemployment was higher in Israel than it was in Europe. Since then, unemployment in the Euro bloc has only risen whereas the unemployment rate in Israel has only declined," Netanyahu said.
Israel's women were the greatest gainers in the job market, opening up a pronounced gender gap. The unemployment rate for females dropped to 6.4% from 6.8% in October, while the rate for males was stagnant at 7%.
Despite the good employment news, Israel's growth slowed to 3.3% in 2012, a health rate significantly higher than the OECD average, but a continued decline from the hefty growth of 4.6% in 2011 and 5% in 2010, Globes reported.
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich said the slowing growth rate "proves that while Netanyahu and Steinitz were busy with threats and scaring the public, their economic policy led to greater social gaps, increased poverty, a widened deficit and now also an economic slowdown."
Perhaps in reference to the 6.6% unemployment rates in July and February, the only months with lower unemployment than November in 2012, Yacimovich also blasted the "data that shows an increase in the unemployment rates in recent months."