Israel - Unemployment rose to 7% in 2012
The unemployment rate rose to 7% at the end of 2012 from 5.4% a year earlier, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported , with the number of unemployed rising by a net 73,000 people from 174,000 at the end of 2011 to 247,000 at the end of 2012.
In early 2012, the Central Bureau of Statistics changed its methodology for measuring unemployment, to conform to OECD rules, which resulted in a jump in the unemployment rate from 5.4% to 6.5% of the civilian labor force. There were serious problems in measuring unemployment in the Arab community, where the rate doubled from 6% under the old method to 12% under the new method.
Participation in the labor force among people over 50 was 54%, mostly men, in 2012, and participation in the labor force by people aged 25-64 rose to almost 79%. 85% of men aged 25-64 and 73% of women aged 25-64 participate in the labor force. Participation in the labor force by people over 15 was 60%.
The breakdown of unemployment by region shows a 10% rate in the Northern District, 7.5% in the Jerusalem District, 7.3% in the Southern District, and just 5.5% in the Tel Aviv District. Among the big cities, Holon has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.5%, followed by Ramat Gan at 4.9% and Rishon LeZion at 5.1%. The cities with the highest unemployment rates were Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, at 7.8% and 7.5%, respectively. Both cities have large haredi (ultra-orthodox) populations, and participation in the labor force is below 50% in both of them. One in every two adults in these cities chooses not to work.
50,000 employees worked for employment agencies in 2012, and another 134,000 people worked as contract employees in cleaning and security.