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

Employment Services warns about chronic unemployment among older workers.

Unemployed Israelis
Emil Salman

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.