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Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Israel’s unemployment rate rose to 6.6 percent in the third quarter, as the number of people entering the workforce outpaced the amount of jobs created.

The jobless rate increased from a revised 6.4 percent in the previous three months, the Jerusalem-based Central Bureau of Statistics said today on its website. Unemployment a year earlier was 7.7 percent.

“Nobody should interpret the slight uptick in unemployment as any sign of a slowdown in growth, because overall the numbers are positive,” said Jonathan Katz, a Jerusalem-based economist for HSBC Holdings Plc.

Israel bounced back from the global recession faster than many developed economies, and is expected to expand 4 percent this year, the bureau said on Oct. 17. That compares with a projected 1.7 percent expansion in the European Union and 2.6 percent in the U.S., according to the International Monetary Fund.

The overall number of employed people increased to 3 million from 2.9 million, and the percentage of the population joining the workforce rose to 57.8 from 57.1.

“These are signs of a robust economy,” Katz said.

Israel’s benchmark TA-25 stock index has gained about 16 percent in the past 12 months, led by Avner Oil Exploration LP, and Delek Drilling LP, two of the partners in the Leviathan natural gas site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at

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