Surprising data: Contrary to earlier estimates by the Bank of Israel and government bodies, Israel's economic growth did not slow down in the second quarter of 2010, instead rising to an annualized 4.7% growth rate.
In the second quarter of 2010, Israel had the second fastest growing economy in the West, behind Germany, which saw an impressive 9% growth. But when compared to the entire Euro bloc, which includes Germany and recorded only 4.1% growth, Israel is number one in the West.
The US came in third with 2.4% growth, and while the rate of economic growth in Japan stood at a meager 0.4%.
In the first half of 2010, economic growth in Israel amounted to 4.1%. This comes after a decline from 4.3% in the last quarters of 2009 to 3.6% in the first quarter of the current year.
Data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that many Israelis and labor unions, who have complained of cuts in wages and worsened conditions, actually spent more money and caused an almost unprecedented increase in expenditures for personal consumption.
Consequently, Israel's standard of living rose at a much higher rate than any other Western country.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said, "The government's economic plan in the biennial budget is, without a doubt, the main reason for the high growth rate in Israel. The plan for the coming two years will also increase growth."