Israel Reaches Historic Low: Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.9%

Looking Good: Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports number of employed Israelis has reached 3.64 million, for an all-time high of 60.9%.
• Bank of Israel leaves interest rate unchanged at 0.1%, acknowledging economy is “growing at moderate rate” with Consumer Price Index up 0.6%.

By Zeev Klein


Unemployment in Israel has fallen to an all-time low and the number of employed Israelis has reached an all-time high, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

An Israeli employment office – Photo: Yehoshua Yosef

According to the bureau’s data, the April jobless rate was just 4.9%, below the psychological threshold of 5%. Unemployment among men dropped from 5.2% in March to 4.9% in April, and unemployment among women dropped from 5.4% to 4.7% in the same months.

The report also said the number of employed Israelis reached an all-time high in April of 60.9%, or 3.64 million, and the workforce now numbers 1.9 million men and 1.74 million women. Workforce participation in March was 60.2%.

The unemployment rate for men aged 25-64 fell from 4.6% in March to 4.2% in April. The unemployment rate for women in the same age group dropped from 4.7% to 4.2%.

According to the report, unemployment has fallen by 0.7% since September 2014, and by 3% since 2009. The unemployment rate in Israel reached an all-time high of 11.2% in 1992.

Also on Monday, the Bank of Israel decided to leave June’s principal interest rate unchanged for the fourth consecutive month, at 0.1%.

“The Consumer Price Index for April increased by 0.6%, while forecasters had projected a slightly lower increase of 0.5% on average,” the bank’s Monetary Committee said in a statement posted Monday on the bank’s website.

“The rate of inflation as measured by the change in the CPI over the past 12 months was negative 0.5%, compared to negative 1% over the 12 months that ended in March.

“One-year inflation expectations from various sources are around the lower bound of the inflation target range. Private forecasters’ projections for the next 12 CPI readings are 1% percent, on average … and expectations derived from banks’ internal interest rates are 0.8 percent, compared to 0.6% last month,” the bank said.

Israel’s economy is stable and growing, it said.

“Indicators of [real economic] activity for the first quarter of 2015 and for the month of April continue to point to the economy growing at the moderate rate,” the bank said.

“According to the first estimate of National Accounts data for the first quarter (seasonally adjusted data in annual terms), GDP grew by 2.5% and business sector product increased by 3.2%. Growth was led by an increase of 6.5% in private consumption (excluding durable goods) and an increase of 9.4% in exports (excluding diamonds and startups).”


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