Israel's unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in December, according to figures published today by the Central Bureau of Statistics, breaking the previous record low of 4.5% set in November.
As in the two preceding months, most of the increase in employment was in full-time jobs. The rate of participation in the labor force dipped slightly among men and rose among women.
Following publication of the data, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (TASE: HARL) economics and research department head Ofer Klein predicted that the upward trend in wages would continue. "In our estimation, the low unemployment rate will continue to support a rise in wages in 2017, mainly in professions with a large number of available jobs," Klein wrote. "At the same time, in contrast to the past two years, we do not expect a further drop in the unemployment rate, given the increase in the minimum wage and the fact that the economy is very close to full employment."
The unemployment rate fell below 5% in 2016 for the first time, while the average salary rose by an annual 2.5-3% for the second straight year. The Central Bureau of Statistics' annual figures show that the unemployment rate among those age 15 and up fell to 4.8% in 2016, compared with 5.3% in 2015. The unemployment rate among men age 15 and up dropped from 5.1% in 2015 to 4.7% in 2016, and the unemployment rate among women age 15 and up dropped from 5.4% in 2015 to 4.9% in 2016.
The rate of participation in the labor force in the 25-64 age bracket rose from 79.8% in 2015 to 79.9% in 2016. The rate among men in this age bracket fell from 85.1% in 2015 to 84.9% in 2016, while it rose from 74.7% in 2015 to 75.1% among women in this age bracket. The unemployment rate in the labor force in the 25-64 age bracket fell from 4.5% in 2015 to 4.1% in 2016, from 4.5% in 2015 to 4.1% in 2016 among men in this age bracket and from 4.6% in 2015 to 4.2% among women in this age bracket.
Figures from a Central Bureau of Statistics personnel survey show that the number of employed people working full-time in the fourth quarter of 2016 (35 or more hours a week) rose 2.9%, compared with the third quarter (72,000 more employees), while the proportion of those working part-time in the fourth quarter of 2016 (less than 35 hours a week), dropped 4.4%, compared with the third quarter (46,000 fewer employees). A breakdown by profession showed that the largest number of additional employees were in the industrial and construction professions and other professionals and among academics (about 7,000 employees in each of these professions), and among managers (about 6,000 employees). The largest decline in the number of employees was among general clerks and office employees (4,000 employees).
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 31, 2017
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