Jobless rate lowest in decade

Israel's unemployment rate was unchanged in May from April at 7.6 percent, the lowest since the second quarter of 1997.

Israel's unemployment rate was unchanged in May from April at 7.6 percent, the lowest since the second quarter of 1997. April's jobless rate was revised to 7.6% from 7.9%, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. It also revised the rate in February and March to 7.7% "The economy is growing and therefore unemployment is falling," said Avinoam Nachum, chief economist at Clal Finance Batucha Investment Management Ltd. "The drop in unemployment is also expressed in the decrease in productivity in the past few months, as new, unseasoned employees join the work force." The jobless rate has fallen from a peak of 10.9% at the beginning of 2004 as the country enjoys its fifth consecutive year of growth. The Finance Ministry said last week it expects unemployment to fall to 7.5% this year, and 7.2% in 2008. (Bloomberg)