Israel's unemployment rate tumbles to 5.9%

Exports rose by an annualized 2.7% from August to October, following 9.8% drop in previous quarter.

Haredi man working 370 (photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Haredi man working 370
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
The unemployment rate continued its steady decline in October, hitting 5.9 percent, down from 6% in September, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
The labor participation rate improved to 63.8%, up from 63.4%, demonstrating that the improvement in the unemployment rate is not the result of discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force, the statistics bureau said.
The number of full-time employees increased 0.9%, while the number of part-time workers decreased 0.5%.
The number of Israelis aged 15 and over participating in the workforce rose to 3,704,000 in October, comprising 3,486,000 people employed and 218,000 unemployed. Among those employed in October, 1,861,000 were men, compared with 1,848,000 in September, and 1,625,000 were women, compared with 1,611,000 the previous month.
The percentage of Israelis aged 15 and over in the workforce climbed to 63.8% in October, up 0.4% from September.
Despite the good news, the Bank of Israel sees the trend of dropping unemployment reaching its end. Just a week before the newest figures were published, Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug warned that the jobless rate would soon start increasing.
“An assessment of the composition of the labor market shows that growth in the number of employed persons is concentrated in the public services, while employment in the business sector has been at a standstill for a long time,” she said.
In other economic news, exports rose by an annualized 2.7% in the third quarter, following a 9.8% drop in the second quarter. Imports rose faster, at a rate of 4.5%.
The consumer confidence index improved, although it remained low, with the difference between negative and positive survey respondents rising from minus-29% to minus-24%. People’s overall sentiment about their household economic situation improved, from minus-13% to minus- 5%, indicating “a marked shift in the balance between the economic situation of the household.”
Domestic spending continued to rise, with retail chains showing a 1.5% annualized increase in sales.
Globes contributed to this report.