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The unemployment rate hit a 13-year low in the first quarter of 2008, and now stands at 6.3 percent. The number of jobless fell below 190,000 for the first time in many years, and the number of Israeli unemployed was 184,600 for the quarter, according to Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) unemployment numbers released yesterday.

At the same time, the number of those with jobs grew strikingly, and 155,000 people have joined the workforce since the first quarter of 2007. The level of participation in the workforce, 56.6 percent of those over 15, is a new record for Israel.

The number of unemployed in the first three months of 2008 fell by 9,800 from the last quarter of 2007 - a 5 percent drop.

Compared with the first quarter of 2007, this is a 17.6 percent drop representing almost 40,000 people, and the unemployment rate has reached the level it last saw in the second quarter of 1995.