haredim ultra-Orthodox - Micha Odenheimer  - October 28 2010
Haredim studying in a yeshiva Photo by Micha Odenheimer
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Employment patterns changed from 2007 to 2009, according to a study by the National Insurance Institute. While Arab women and Haredi men worked more, nonobservant Jews worked less.

Israeli Arabs and the Haredim have been relatively work-averse population groups. This has been cited as a macroeconomic problem, as both are proliferating faster than the biggest employment group, nonobservant Jews.

The study by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb and Esther Toledano, who work for the NII research department, looked at employment of adults aged 20 to 67.

The overview is that the proportion of adults who work in Israel dropped by 2% over the eight years from 2001 to 2009, to 55.3%. It turns out that the biggest group, nonobservant Jews, is responsible for that: employment in that group fell 2.6% from 2001 to 2009.

But the study found welcome changes in the last two years studied, 2007 to 2009. In the Israeli Arab community, women began to work more, while in the ultra-Orthodox community, there has been an increase among men working.

During that time, Israel went through two recessions. Toledano and Gottlieb found that during each recession, employment among nonobservant Jews aged 36 to 50 fell - and did not recover.

While employment among nonreligious Jews fell, employment in the Arab community increased by 6% from 2001 to 2009, say the researchers. Among Haredim, the increase was 2.3%.

The study also found that 42,100 people a year joined the Israeli workforce from 2001 to 2009, of whom 7,000 were Haredim and 11,100 were Arab (all the numbers are averages). The number of non-Haredi Jews who joined the workforce was 24,100, say Toledano and Gottlieb.

Tomorrow the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor is holding an employment fair at the Israeli Arab town of Tira, in the presence of Industry Minister Shalom Simhon. Among the companies that have registered to participate are gas station chain Sonol, the heavy-discount chain of supermarkets Rami Levi Shivuk Hashikma, the industrial concern Ha'argaz, the Central Bottling Company (more popularly known as Coca Cola Israel), Shamir Salads, the Electra group, the Egged bus company, and the Jaljulya senior citizens home.