The unemployment rate fell to an all time low of 5.5% of the civilian labor force in the second quarter of 2011, down from 6% in the preceding quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on wednesday. There were 176,000 unemployed in the second quarter.
Participation in the labor force rose to 57.5% in the second quarter from 57.4% in the first quarter. The number of employees was 3.2 million in the second quarter, including 3.03 million employed by 175,000 private sector businesses. The number of employees rose by 3.4% from 2.99 million in the corresponding quarter of 2010.However, the number of people with full-time jobs (at least 35 hours a week) fell by 1%, or 20,000 people, from the preceding quarter, while the number of people with part-time jobs rose by 7%, or 56,000 people.