Unemployment drops sharply to 6.1%

Number of jobless lowest since Sept. ’08, Central Bureau of Statistics assessment finds.

unemployment 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
unemployment 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in January, down from the revised December 2010 mark of 6.3%, according to preliminary data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
This mark means that unemployment is at its lowest point since September 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis.
The rate has been falling steadily since peaking at 7.7% in May 2009.
The Central Bureau of Statistics also revised the October and November unemployment rates downward to 6.5% and 6.4% respectively.
Although the January figure is only provisional, it is consistent with other macroeconomic figures, including gross domestic product and consumption and export data.
GDP expanded at an annualized rate of 7.8% in seasonally adjusted terms in the fourth quarter of 2010, driven mainly by private consumption and investments.
During the past year, the economy expanded at 4.5%, up 0.8% compared with 2009, and significantly higher than the 2.8% average among the 34 member countries of the OECD.
The final January unemployment figures will be released in the Labor Survey for the first quarter, which is slated to be released at the end of May.