Israeli Unemployement Under 5% for First Time in Decades

Another milestone: Number of job-seekers dips under 200,000.

Unemployed Israelis
Emil Salman

Israel’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.9% in April, a low not seen in decades, according to figures published Monday.

Unemployment for March was 5.3%. Some 16,000 fewer people were unemployed in April, pushing the total number of unemployed job-seekers to 193,000, the first time that figure fell under 200,000 in years.

Israel’s unemployment rate is very low by both international measures and compared to Israel’s own history. A rate as low as 4.9% is not actually considered unemployment – rather, it is termed “frictional unemployment,” meaning it is not caused by a lack of jobs but rather by people changing jobs or entering the workforce after finishing the army or college.

The Israel Bureau of Statistics said Israel’s workforce numbered 3,925,000 people age 15 and up. Of these people, 3,732,000 were employed as of April. The workforce includes 1,958,000 men and 1,774,000 women.

These numbers are very high by Israeli standards.

The number of people with full-time employment – 35 hours a week or more – increased 1.6% from March (46,000 people), while the number of people who were working part time decreased by 2.6% (22,000 people).

A total of 78.4% of all employed people were working full time as of April, up from 77.7% in March. That figure was 88% for men and 67.8% for women.

Some 64.4% of Israel’s population was in the workforce as of April. Workforce participation was 69.1% for men, and 59.9% for women.

The unemployment rate for men was 4.7% in April. For women, it was 5.1%.

The percentage of people aged 25-64 in the workforce was 80.5% in April. This age group is considered primary working age. For men the figure was 84.8%, while for woman it was 76.3%. Unemployment for this age group was 4.4% in April, down from 4.5% in March. It was 4.2% for men, and 4.7% for women.

The workforce participation rate is the percentage of people who are working or want to be working. Unemployment is the percentage of people in the workforce who want jobs but haven’t found them.