Unemployment office
Unemployment officeIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The average salary in Israel rose 1.6% in April, the last month for which final statistics were available. The 1.6% increase was a sharp rise over the salary levels for the period between February and April, months in which salaries had risen 1.8% over the November 2012-January 2013 period, the Central Bureau of Statistics said. In April, the average salary in Israel was NIS 9,145 (about $2,530).

The average salary takes into account all segments of the population and all pay levels, and follows traditional patterns - with university educated residents of large cities in the Jewish sector earning more than residents of the periphery and of the Arab population.

The news on salary increases followed data last Thursday that showed Israel's unemployment rate remaining 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.