The unemployment rate in Israel continues to fall, but at the same time, the proportion of participation in the labor force is also declining. Figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that the unemployment rate fell from 3.8% in February to 3.6% in March. Unemployment averaged 3.7% in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2017. The drop in unemployment in the 25-64 age bracket was even more impressive, with unemployment falling from 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to a mere 3.2% in the first quarter of this year.
The labor force participation rate dipped from 64% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 63.8% in the first quarter of 2018. The employment rate among those over 15 fell from 61.8% in February to 61.3% in March.
The Central Bureau of Statistics' figures are based on a personnel survey in which an average of 19,500 people over 15 were interviewed each month. The sample population included permanent residents of Israel, plus tourists and temporary residents residing in Israel continuously for more than a year. The survey makes it possible to follow the development of the labor force, its size and characteristics, the extent of unemployment, and other key indicators.
High tech engine chugging ahead
The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that exports of services in February totaled $4.2 billion, 6.9% higher than exports of services in the preceding month. The figures are seasonally adjusted and do not include startups. Exports of services by the high-tech sector totaled $2.2 billion in February, 7.3% more than in January. Exports of services in the high-tech branches accounted for 69% of total exports of business services, which include refined oil products, chemicals and chemical products, drugs including homeopathic medicine, computers, electronic and optical devices, motor vehicles and trailers, other means of transportation and cargo transportation, communications services, computer programming and consultation services, and research and development.
Revenue from foreign tourists grew 2.1% in February 2018, following a 3.8% rise in January. Revenue of Israel companies from transporting foreign residents was up 4.5% in February 2018, after rising 5.6% in January 2018.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 1, 2018
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