Israel's Unemployment Rate Rose in May 2015 Following April's Record Low

Employment Services warns about chronic unemployment among older workers.

Haim Bior
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Unemployed Israelis
Unemployed workers in Israel.Credit: Emil Salman
Haim Bior

Israel’s unemployment rate rose in May following April’s record low, although the percentage of the working-age population holding a job also edged higher, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday.

The jobless rate climbed to a seasonally adjusted 5% last month, up from 4.8% in April – although that may have been influenced by the Passover holiday. The rate for May was still lower than the 5.2% rate recorded in March, and reflects a trend toward falling joblessness since the rate last peaked in June 2015 at 6.5%.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate – the percentage of the adult population holding a job or actively seeking one – edged 0.1 percentage point higher to 64.1% last month. The number of people working full-time jumped 5.9%, or about 136,000, while those working part-time, either because they want to or because they can’t find full-time employment, declined by 3.5%, or 34,000, the CBS said.

Confirming the CBS figures, the State Employment Service said the number of people registered with it – a requirement for seeking unemployment benefits – fell to 199,193 in May, from 201,693 in April.

Nevertheless, the service said about a third of those registered with it were defined as chronically unemployed, meaning they had been without a job for at least 270 days. Of those, about half, or 32,700, were ages 55 to 64 and another 25%, or 19,300, were in the 45-54 bracket.

Experts said chronic jobless rate reflected the difficulty of older workers finding employment after they’ve lost their jobs.

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