The Israeli economy continues to do well in the face of ongoing problems in the world economy. Israel's unemployment rate remained a relatively mild 6.9% in May, the same as in April.
Experts said that the relatively stable employment situation was a sign that the Israeli economy was flexible and versatile enough to withstand the major fluctuations in the world economy – including the near-bankruptcy of several European countries (among them large importers of Israeli exports), continued weakness in the U.S., and a relatively weakening of China's economy that was sending shock waves through many industries.
Among men, the unemployment rate in May was down slightly compared with April – from 7% to 6.8%, the Central Bureau of Statistics said. It was up slightly for women, from 6.8% to 7%. However, the total number of employed people in Israel ticked up slightly – by 0.1%, with a total of 3,415,000 people employed in Israel. Experts said, however, that when the “underground” economy was taken into account – the one in which individuals worked “off the books” and did not declare their incomes – the number of employed Israelis was likely much higher.
Altogether, about 253,000 people in Israel said they were looking for work, a number in line with expectations by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel.