Israeli Unemployment up in July, Shekel at Six-Month Highs
The number of job seekers in Israel rose 1.1 percent in July according to official figures published on Wednesday, while the shekel (Israeli currency) was trading at a six month high.
A total of 166,321 people were looking for work in July, up from 164,570 in June but a decline from 174,331 in May.
Since the start of the year, the number of job seekers registered with the Employment Service has risen three percent, though the central bank says the trend is downwards.
The Arab Israeli community was particularly hard hit, with an unemployment rate of 12 percent in more than a dozen Arab villages and towns.
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Raanan Cohen described the situation as "unhealthy," and vowed to tackle unemployment and poverty, press reports said.
According to central bank figures, the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in the first quarter of 2000 from 8.9 percent in the last quarter of last year and the rate is expected to continue to decline.
Meanwhile, the shekel has strengthened against the dollar, changing hands at 4.02 to the greenback, the highest level in six months.
The Tel Aviv stock exchange was also trading near all-time highs, with the Maof index of 25 leading stocks at 560.85 points - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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