The economy has been in a slowdown, with growth rates of just 2.3% and 2.1% in the last two quarters of 2013. Many economists have wondered how the worsening slowdown can be consistent with the drop in unemployment, but that decline has now ended.
Both original figures and trend figures show a small drop in the unemployment rate to 5.7%. Israel's unemployment rate is lower than in other OECD countries; the average unemployment rate in European countries in 11.9%. In absolute terms, there are 216,000 unemployed.
The core unemployment rate (for people aged 25-64) was 5.1% of the civilian labor force in the first quarter, down slightly from 5.2% inb the preceding quarter. Unemployment in this age group is more reliable than the general unemployment rate, as it excludes soldiers and students, and is therefore less volatile.