4th-quarter Israel unemployment unexpectedly drops

Unemployment among men averaged 6.8 percent last year, after a 5.8 percent showing in 1996, and stood at 8.8 percent for women, up from 7.8 percent in the previous 12 months.

The number of working people in Israel, not including workers in the territories and foreign workers, totaled 2 million, of whom 1.1 million were men.