Israeli unemployment rate lowest since early ’70s

Unemployment in January drops to 3.7 percent, compared to the 2017 average of 4.2 percent.


Israel’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest in nearly 50 years, reported the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Last week, the bureau released figures for January, showing unemployment at 3.7 percent, compared to 4 percent in the previous month of December 2017. The unemployment rate in January was also lower than the annual average in 2017, which stood at 4.2 percent.

The last time unemployment was this low was in the early 1970s, before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when it stood at 3.4 percent.

The CBS said that in January, for the first time since the 1970s, the number of people classified as unemployed dropped below 150,000, to 148,000.

Israel’s labor-force participation rate stands at 3.86 million, and for the first time includes more women than men: 1.840 million women compared to 1.82 million men.

The rate of employment for people ages 25 to 64 was 80 percent (68 percent for women and 87 percent for men). Unemployment levels for men in that age range dropped to 3.5 percent (compared with 3.8 percent in December 2017), and for women in that age group fell to 3.9 percent (compared with 4.2 percent in December 2017).

Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen lauded the figures on Wednesday, saying they underscore the Israeli government’s successful economic stewardship and its praiseworthy efforts to boost Israel’s peripheral communities.

“The CBS figures are proof that we are pursuing correct, responsible and wise economic policies,” he said.