unemployment rate fell by 0.1% to 5% in October, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported Monday.
The jobless rate includes people actively job hunting and reporting to the employment offices throughout the month, without working even one hour on the week the survey was conducted.
The data do not include the impact of seasonal and temporary factors. And yet, CBS officials warn that the reliability of the figures is uncertain.
Israel's unemployment rate has been recorded a sharp drop since the summer of 2009, after the conclusion of the aggressive dismissal wave in the beginning of the year on the backdrop of the global financial crisis.
The jobless rate has fallen, according to the CBS, from 7.9% in May-June 2009 to less than 6% this year.
Since July, however, the figures released by the CBS have been inconsistent. According to the data published Monday, divided by months, the jobless rate dropped from 5.7% in April to 5.6% in May, 5.3% in July, 5.2% in August and 5.1% in September.
One the other hand, the CBS reported recently that the unemployment rate recorded a slight increase in the third quarter, reaching an average of 5.6%.
The CBS has yet to provide an explanation to the inconsistent figures.
In any event, this is the lowest unemployment rate in the past 20 years, and it is significantly lower than last year. Assuming the current figures are accurate, unemployment is still falling.
According to surveys conducted by all statistical bodies – including the CBS, the Employment Service, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry and private manpower agencies – Israel's unemployment rate has fallen in the past two years.
However, according to figures compiled by the Employment Service, the downside trend has been reversed since August and the number of job seekers has gone up by 0.1% in August and 0.1% in September, and has not changed since.
The unemployment rate is rising in most of the world these days, due to the European and US debt crisis and the financial crisis spreading from the West to the rest of the world.
Israel's unemployment rate is among the lowest in the Western world. Ironically, however, Israel's employment rate is also the lowest in the West due to the large number of people who don't work and are not looking for a job – soldiers, housewives, chronic unemployed and yeshiva students.