Unemployment and Job Seekers in the Israeli Labor Force

by: Dr. Roby NathansonItamar GazalaMichal Porat  date:  30.11.2017
Unemployment and Job Seekers in the Israeli Labor Force

Unemployment and Job Seekers in the Israeli Labor Force
Design: Sany Arazi

In recent years there has been a decline in unemployment rates and in job seekers in the Israeli labor force. An unemployed person is considered as someone who is not working and was actively looking for work at least once in the last month. A job seeker is considered as a person who has approached the Israeli employment service to seek employment. In this report, we will mainly deal with the unemployed because they represent the majority of job seekers.
The unemployment rate is trending down in recent years and as of August 2016, reached a record low of 4.6%. Besides unemployment, there are other indicators showing positive trends indicating the condition of the labor market: the unemployment rate of unemployed for over 12 months is declining. In addition, the rate of discouraged workers, unemployed people who have given up on finding work and therefore are not included in the labor force and are not considered unemployed, is decreasing steadily. Also the percentage of part-time workers, including involuntarily has been decreasing. At the same time, there has been a \ decrease in the number of claimants of income support, a subsistence allowance to those without the means to achieve a basic level of existence.
Existing policy towards the unemployed is stricter than practiced in the past. This deterioration is reflected in the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits and their amounts. However, alongside the strict policies, assistance programs and programs encouraging joining the labor force were launched, which their impact on the labor market is proved to be positive. These may be some of the factors responsible for the decline in the unemployment rate in recent years.
Despite the decent condition of the Israeli labor market, the existence of a body that promotes the interests of the unemployed in the country is of great importance for promoting a policy that supports the unemployed in finding a suitable job and facilitating conditions for financial assistance during unemployment. Israel currently has no body representing the unemployed. However, in many countries there are such entities, in some cases organizations representing solely the unemployed and in other cases, the large unions in those countries that promote, inter alia, the interests of the unemployed in their country.
The Histadrut can represent the unemployed in Israel and help its members who lost their jobs to return to the labor market and consequently help reduce the incidence of poverty among these families. To this end, it must promote policies in state institutions and the Histadrut itself, which encourages the unemployed to return to the labor market and helps the unemployed find a suitable job, especially among populations with less affinity to the labor market such as women, Arabs and residents of the periphery.
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