Unemployment at 5-year low

The largest increase in employment was in public administration - 8,400.

Unemployment in Israel in the first quarter of 2005 has fallen to its lowest level in five years, before the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000. The unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.1% in the first quarter, down from 9.8% in the preceding quarter and 10.9% in the first quarter of 2004, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported today.

The unemployment rate for men fell to 8.5% in the first quarter, from 9% in the preceding quarter and 9.8% in the corresponding quarter of last year. The unemployment rate for women fell to 8.9% in the first quarter from 10.8% in the preceding quarter and 12.1% in the corresponding quarter of last year.

The number of unemployed was a seasonally adjusted 245,200 in the first quarter: 123,400 men and 121,800 women. The number of unemployed fell 6.7%, or 17,700 people, compared with the preceding quarter, and 13.7%, or 44,800 people, compared with 290,000 unemployed a year ago.

The Central Bureau of Statistics unemployment report includes report also includes positive employment figures for the first quarter:

  • 2.45 million people had jobs in the first quarter, an increase of 1.4%, or 33,000 people, compared with the preceding quarter, and an increase of 2.8%, or 67,600 people, compared with the corresponding quarter of last year.
  • Since hitting bottom in the first quarter of 2002, the number of employed people has risen by 8.9%, or 189,800 people.
  • The number of full-time employees (working 35 or more hours a week), rose by 2.3%, while the number of part-time employees fell by 1.2%.
  • The average number of work-hours per employee was 36.9 in the first quarter, compared with 36.5 in the preceding quarter.

Participation in the civilian labor force is continuing to rise, reaching 54.7% in the first quarter, compared with 54.6% in the preceding quarter. Participation of men reached 60.3%, the same as in the preceding quarter, while participation of women rose to 49.4% from 49.2%.

However, the largest increase in employment was in public administration, belying the government's declared policy. The number of public sector employees rose by 8,400, a jump of 7.4%.

The number of employees in the car sales and service sector rose by 7,900, an increase of 2.8%. There were smaller increases in the number of employees in industry, transportation, storage, communications and other sectors. Health, nursing and welfare services also saw a small increase in employment.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on May 25, 2005

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