Israeli Economy’s Performance in 2016 Best in Four Years, Central Bank Says

The Israeli economy grew 4 percent in 2016, exceeding projections by 1.2 percentage points and marking the best economic performance for the country since 2012, the Bank of Israel said Wednesday.

Israel’s economy grew 2.5 percent in 2015 and 3.2 percent in 2014.

In its 2016 annual report, the central bank noted the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) hit a record 1.22 trillion shekels ($337 billion). Israel had a record $12.4 billion surplus in its current account balance of payments last year, while unemployment dropped to 4.8 percent. In other noteworthy figures, public debt dropped to an all-time low 62.8 percent of GDP; the number of employed Israelis hit a record-high 3.74 million people; the GDP per capita reached a historic high of $36,800; private consumption climbed 6 percent; and Israelis’ overall standard of living increased 5 percent.

Israel’s economic growth—at 4 percent—was double that of America’s economic growth during 2016. The growth was 2.3 times higher than the average among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, and 2.5 times higher than average growth in the eurozone.

According to the bank’s data, the Israeli economy has grown a cumulative 21.6 percent since 2011, exceeding the growth of all 34 other OECD member states.

“The picture of the Israeli economy that emerges from this report, and other reports we receive, is very good,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Israel is a well-managed, growing economy….But we must ensure the continued growth, and the growth of other resources we want to dedicate to infrastructure and education.”