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1,000 fewer people were classified as jobseekers in February than January, the Employment Service reported yesterday. But there were still 199,600 people who reported to the service in February, and these numbers only represent those who are required to report - such as people who are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

But this is still better than the average monthly 3.4% increase in the number of jobseekers from February 2008 to March 2009, when the trend reversed, and since April 2009 the numbers have shrunk by an average of 2.2% per month.

The highest unemployment rate is still in the south, 10.8%, while the greater Tel Aviv area has the fewest unemployed.

The Bedouin town of Rahat has the country's highest unemployment rate: 39%. Arab towns average a 25.4% rate.