Israeli Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest in Almost 3 Years

Israel’s unemployment rate in January declined to its lowest level in almost three years as an expanding economy led to the creation of new jobs.

The rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in December, the Jerusalem-based Central Bureau of Statistics said today on its website.

“We are seeing very positive growth figures and this trickles down to the job market” Rafael Gozlan, chief economist at Leader Capital Markets Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by telephone before the report.

Israel bounced back from the global recession faster than many developed economies, with growth accelerating to 7.7 percent in the last quarter of 2010, the fastest pace in four years. The economy may expand 4.3 percent this year, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. said March 2.

Israel’s index of leading economic indicators rose a preliminary 0.4 percent in February, led by exports of goods and services and manufacturing, the Bank of Israel reported on March 17. Israel’s trade deficit narrowed in February as industrial exports increased, the bureau said on March 10.

The economic recovery has pushed the benchmark TA-25 stock index up about 6 percent in the past 6 months, led by Avner Oil Exploration LP, a partner in gas fields off the country’s coast.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at aodenheimer@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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