"We are close to the lowest unemployment rate of all times," a Finance Ministry official said recently, after the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel's unemployment rate had dropped to 6% compared to 7% in the beginning of 2010.
The lowest unemployment rate in Israel, 5.9%, was reached about three years ago.
The unemployment rate dropped by another 0.1% in February – a drop of 30,000 in the number of unemployed, which now reaches some 180,000.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics figures, the unemployment rate in Israel has dropped since November 2010 by 0.4%, which is 12,000 fewer unemployed. In July 2009, the unemployment rate in Israel was still 7.7%, which is about 50,000 fewer unemployed than in February 2011.
The Israeli economy recovered from several years of recession in the past year, but it turns out that the fruits of the growth were mainly enjoyed by those earning the highest salaries.
An annual report published by the Adva Center – Information on Equality and Social Justice in Israel shows that the salary of all Israeli workers grew by less than 1% in the past year, while executives' salary rose by 10%.
The report also reveals that workers of Ashkenazi descent earned more than workers of Sephardic descent and more than new immigrants and Arabs.
According to the report, Israel's national income stood at NIS 688 billion (about $200 billion) in 2010. "If the workers' part of the 2010 cake had been 68%, as it was in 2000, and not 63% as it was in reality, each worker would have received an average of NIS 976 ($283) a month," the report's authors wrote.
The report shows that the national income grew by 33% in the past decade, but that the workers' part grew by 24% and the employers part grew by 44%.
According to the report, the wage cost of a manager in a company whose shares are traded in the Stock Exchange stood at NIS 236,000 ($67,000) in the past month. On the other hand, about 40% of workers earned NIS 4,260 ($1,208) in the past year – half of the average salary in the Israeli economy.
Twenty-seven percent of the workers received an average salary or more, and 4% had a salary of NIS 25,000 ($7,090) and up.
David Regev contributed to this report
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