Israeli Jobless Rate Drops to 30 Year Low

February 29, 2012  

Looking for work? Come to Israel. The jobless rate dropped to 5.4 percent in the last quarter, one of the lowest in the world and the lowest in Israel since 1980.

By contrast, the unemployment rate in the United States is 8.5 percent and is estimated in reality to be as much as twice as high when taking into account that millions of people simply have given up looking for work. Statistics are based only on those actively looking for employment.

The Israeli jobless rate for the previous quarter was 5.6 percent, compared with 6.6 percent for the year 2010, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Geographically, the lowest unemployment rate for large cities was recorded in Tel Aviv, where the rate dropped to 4.4 percent from 5.7 percent in 2010.

High-tech employees made up slightly more than 10 percent of the civilian work force. Expansion of American-based firms’ Israeli operations has opened up hundreds of job opportunities, led by Intel. Microsoft and Google also have invested heavily in new tech centers in Israel.

Demand for engineers is expected to grow as Israel engages in the multi-billion dollar project to pipe natural gas from giant energy fields discovered west of the Haifa coast the past two years.

Clean tech is another growth area, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer told the National Green Growth Conference Tuesday.

He said that “Israel has a comparative advantage” in clean tech, which includes recycling, wind and solar power, biofuels, information technology and green transportation.

Fischer explained, “We accumulated experience in these areas even before the global green growth movement began, and I have the impression that we have lost the lead in these areas. We must attempt to come back and lead this industry, which can serve as a growth engine for the economy and vary the export sectors.

“Obviously, we must also invest efforts in improving the quality of the environment in Israel – we did it successfully in the past, for example in connection with educating the public to avoid picking wild flowers, and we can do it again in the future. And the future begins today.”

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