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Unemployment dropped to 10-year low last November

January 20, 2008. Ynet: Adrian Filut

The unemployment rate dropped to a mere 6.6% last November—a 10-year low—according to numbers released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The unemployment rate stood at 6.7% in October 2007 and 8.1% in November 2006.

Although the 6.6% figure represents trend estimation, this rate represents the lowest unemployment numbers in a decade.

In the third quarter of 2007, the percentage of people looking for work was 7.3%—around 214,000 people—compared with 7.5% in the preceding quarter.

In November of last year, approximately 192,700 people were actively searching for work -- a decrease of 0.1% from the previous month.

The number of unemployed non-academic employees not requesting the guaranteed minimal income searching for jobs dropped 1.2%. Conversely, there was a slight increase of 0.7% in the number of unemployed workers demanding the guaranteed minimal income who were looking for jobs.

The number of unemployed academic employees not requesting the guaranteed minimal income looking for work rose by 1.8%.

The demand for new employees rose last November by 5.3% compared to the preceding month. In all, employment offices received requests for nearly 24,500 positions.

Olmert: 'Employers looking for workers'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Ynet that "in the last few years the government has invested a lot (of effort) in creating new jobs. I am happy to see that the measures we have taken along with an alteration of the tax scheme and efforts to encourage people to go and find work have caused unemployment rates in Israel to drop to the lowest in the world and today, those that want to find work are able to do so.

"There are even places that are looking for extra hands," the prime minister said.

Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On said that "this is an encouraging statistic but it is not sufficient, we must continue to implement the social agenda and to ensure the increase of the rate of participation in order to bring about a stable reduction of the poverty rate over time."

Economist weighs in

Leah Achdut, a senior member of the Van Leer Institute, told Ynet in response that "there has been a significant increase in employment and that is worthy of praise. But, we must also take a look at other points that don't automatically come to mind from the statistics.

"For example, the types of jobs (that have been created): Are we talking about more full-time or part-time jobs, which make a difference on the job security of the citizen. Another important subject is salary. What's going on with salaries in different industries?

"As far as I know, the rise in salaries has been very different in each branch of the economy, which means that the salaries haven't risen equally in each industry."

Achdut, who served as the deputy director-general of the National Insurance Institute when Binyamin Netanyahu was finance minister, added that "these numbers indicate with certainty that Israelis go out and find work when it is offered to them."

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