Israel's Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5%

But labor expert says many working at jobs beneath their skills.

Unemployed Israelis
Emil Salman

Israel’s unemployment rate, which has been at its lowest in decades, slipped below the 5% level in April to reach a seasonally adjusted 4.9%, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Monday.

Not only did the jobless rate for Israelis age 15 and up show a sharp decline, from 6.5% in June 2014, other labor market indicators showed improvement as well. The percentage of the adult population over 15 with a job or actively seeking one — the labor force participation rate — rose to 64% from 63.5%.

The CBS said the unemployment rate for the key 25-64 working-age population dropped to 4.2% last month from 4.6% in March, while the group’s labor force participation rate climbed to 76.4% from 75.8%.

Nevertheless, Esther Toledano, a labor market expert at the National Insurance Institute, said too many Israelis are employed in jobs not in line with their skills and training and often drift from job to job. “If unemployment benefits were higher and were paid for longer periods ... more unemployed people would be able to look for and find work commensurate with their abilities,” she said.