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Israel’s unemployment rate continues to drop, after brief sputter

CM 16/08/2021

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Israel’s broad unemployment rate fell to 7.6% in the second half of July, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said Monday.
That is the lowest rate since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis and indicates that the Finance Ministry’s decision to limit unemployment benefits is having its desired effect.
For the whole of July, the broad unemployment rate was 8.4%, compared with 9% in June. There are some 323,000 job seekers as of the end of July, CBS said.

The new data is encouraging after the previous report, for the first half of July, showed a slight rise in unemployment to 9%, compared to 8.8% in the prior two-week period. Economists were concerned then that those numbers indicated the economic recovery was sputtering.
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman celebrated the results. “This tune cannot be stopped,” he proclaimed. “The unemployment data show that the Israeli economy is on a rapid recovery trend thanks to the steps we are taking, including changing the benefit payments outline and providing differential assistance to those who need it. Our investment in preventive measures to close will lead to a continued acceleration of growth, an increase in the employment rate and an improvement in productivity in the economy.”
It should be noted that the return to the workforce has been distributed unevenly. Stores and restaurants are struggling to hire for low-skilled positions, and there is a widespread sentiment that workers are not interested in returning. Among the reasons cited are summertime doldrums, rising coronavirus infection rates, the upcoming holiday season and the possibility that some populations have gotten stuck in a state of chronic unemployment.
Meanwhile, in the hi-tech sector, where salaries are high and many companies are flush with cash, the job market is very competitive. There, the problem is somewhat different. “With all of the investments being made, and all the new positions being created, there aren’t enough workers to fill all the jobs,” a recruitment manager recently explained.
Israel’s economic recovery is being hampered by a lack of manpower. The Finance Ministry estimates that there are 130,000 unfilled positions available in companies around Israel, and filling them is among the economy’s top concerns.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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