Israeli Unemployment Rate Drops to 33-Year Low

Israel’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent, its lowest rate since 1983, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday.

This places Israel in the range of what economists call the “natural rate of unemployment,” which is caused by people changing jobs, retraining, or moving — what’s expected when an economy is doing well — rather than a lack of demand. “The jobless rate is not only low historically but low by international standards, and by conventional economic definitions there’s no unemployment at all in Israel,” Haaretz‘s Moti Bassok explained.

Israel’s unemployment rate is just a few ticks behind that of the United States (4.7 percent) and Germany (4.2 percent), and still ranks among the best within the 36-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which averages a 6.4 percent rate. Israel’s unemployment rate is also nearly half of the European Union’s average of 8.7 percent.

When unemployment reaches such low levels, wages rise as employers don’t have as big a pool of job seekers to choose from. Wages have been rising at a five percent annual rate since the beginning of the year. The average monthly wage is now 10,128 shekels ($2,645).

study last year found that Israel was the fifth-happiest country within the OECD, ranking ahead of the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

[Photo: Moshe Shai / Flash90]