Sunday, June 26, 2011

Unemployment in Israel: All Time Low!

YNET brings us today's good news:
Israel's unemployment rate has reached an all-time low, standing at only 5.8% in April – a total of 186,000 unemployed people, despite the rise in the number of workers joining the labor market.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Thursday, "I promised to bring down the unemployment rate in Israel to less than 6% within four years, and we did it within as little as two years." (ynetnews)
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Anonymous said...

when i see shnorrers from america begging in shuls in israel i will make aliya

Anonymous said...

These are 'fudged' statistics which do not reflect the number of Israelis who are no longer entitled to unemployment benefits, yet remain out of work. According to an alarming report by “Yoman Erev Shishi” there are approximately 100,000 unemployed academics over 45 years old from the hi-tech sector alone that can no longer find work (read more here: The sad truth is that a large number of Olim from the US and Canada are unemployable in Israel. In order to ‘make it’, many Olim continue to work abroad during the week and return to be with their families for Shabat. With the dollar worth >30% less than it was 3 years along with the soaring cost of living in Israel, the ‘Daddy works in America’ economic model isn’t working as well as it used to. If you take the family/social implications into account, it really never was a good idea to begin with.
Cost of living in Israel is now much higher than the US and Europe, yet average earnings remain much lower as explained in this recent Jpost article: My advice is that unless you’re financially independent or work in a profession that will guarantee a standard of living you and your family can cope with long term (such as our kid’s orthodontist), stay in the US/Canada and invest as much as you can afford in your children’s Jewish (and secular) education.
Anyone remember that Jewish Agency poster “We Never Promised You a Rose Garden”? Well, they weren’t kidding !

Eliyahu said...

Anonymous -- I see it all the time here in Jerusalem, in the shteibels in the wealthier neighborhoods. Time to make aliya, please contact me to let me know what I can do to help you.

Miriam Woelke said...

I don't believe in Yuval Steinitz's statistic either, as it doesn't mention where the unemploment rate went down. Definitely not in the northern part of the country or south of Beersheva.

It is true that many jobs can be found in the coastal area such as Tel Aviv, Herzliya or Netanya but one has to look at the kind of jobs and what really is connected to it.

Regarding Aliyah: A new immigrant should learn Hebrew as fast as he can in order to integrate into Israeli society.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Actually, I don't believe the statistics are fudged at all.

Employment doesn't mean a great job either.

Regarding anonymous commenter 2:

If you take the family/social implications into account, it really never was a good idea to begin with.

I agree 100%. Families should not make aliya if they only option available for employment is to fly back and forth to the USA -- this is a BAD idea for the family.

However, unemployment for Jewish families in the USA is probably higher than at any point in time since the Great Depression. Its harder than ever in USA. While many are doing ok (and some even doing very well) in the US, its much harder than it used to be.

Making aliya needs to be more than moving here, but understanding what the job market is (don't move if you are unemployable in Israel and you have a decent job outside of Israel). You need to learn Hebrew, ASAP.

Commenter Miriam is correct, integration into Israeli society is key for a successful aliya. Moving to an Anglo community can work well for olim, but only if they try to integrate themselves into the rest of Israel as well via learning Hebrew and learning what Israel is all about.

Shlomo said...

"100,000 unemployed academics over 45 years old from the hi-tech sector alone"

That figure is absolutely delusional. According to the Israeli government there are only 45000 hi-tech workers, total, in Israel.

Anyone who uses such obviously made up statistics loses all credibility with regard to the rest of their argument.

Meir, Ariel said...

The israeli economy is definately improving as is the job market. I made aliya at age 19, did the army and am now finishing a degree in computer science.
By now my hebrew's pretty good. I have a decently paid hi-tech job and it wasn't that hard to get.
If I didn't speak hebrew it would be another story...
But the fact remains is that the average wage here of around 8000 shekels isn't enough.
We could legislate higher wages, but that would increase unemployment:( But we should definately be doing more about decreasing the cost of living. Stop the price fixing by the big companies. Starting with cottage cheese ;)

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but the Gaza strip has a higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality, and lower inflation than Turkey.

Some Israeli should organize a flotilla (one boat would be sufficient) bringing humanitarian supplies from Israel to Turkey.

Would Turkey let the boat land, and let Israelis videotape themselves handing out food and medicine to poor Turks? Or would they stop the boat by force, using the same "brutality" as the IDF, and preventing their citizens from getting social services which their government cannot provide? Either way, it would be a huge embarrassment for Turkey and a big media event highlighting Israel's side of the story.

Pass the idea on to whoever you think would be interested in doing this!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ariel: You did it right! (My only problem is that I went to University in the USA...instead of staying in Israel, but that was out of my hands at the time)

The cost of living is higher because there is less competition between the big family companies...its a leftover from the socialist nature of Zionism.

Capitalism with free markets has done wonders for Israel's economy...and helped bring the boom of hi-tech to Israel.

Anonymous said...

Jameel is spot on regarding some of the reasons for the higher cost of living in Israel. To make matters worse, some of the wealthiest families who run Israel's economy don't even live here most of the time.
Meir, Kol-Hakavod ! Making Aliya when you're young definitely has its advantages. I made Aliya when I was 22 - right after University. I served 2.5 years in Tzahal then worked as an electronics engineer for various high-tech companies from 1988-2008. I was laid off at age 48 and haven't been able find full time employment since. Unless they are the founders or upper management, it is rare to find workers over 50 in most hi-tech companies here. Just today, 65 workers were laid off from in Jerusalem, many of them are olim. I don't know if the number of unemployed ex high-tech workers is 100,000 but it's definitely significant. At the peak of the bubble there were more than 65,000 workers employed in the high-tech sector.

shlomo said...

Aliyah is going to be hard if someone wants to live in affluent areas and continue living a culture of American pop. Living in Jerusalem is nice but rent of 5000NIS eating up your salary, or savings, is not going to help for long. I know that having a support community is important, so NBN should be offering olim different options other than the Jm, RBS, Raanana, Yad Binyamin options like Yehud, Lod, and more.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that I made aliyah 6 months ago. I work in the "high tech sector". I make less money than I did in the united states. However, at the end of each month, I have more money in my bank account than I did in the United States. Make of that what you will. Also, I live in the north, and work in the Mercaz, (mostly via the internet)

Sal Klita payments just doubled for poeople who move to the North or the South. Now really is a great time to come home.

Also, I'm slowly learning hebrew, wish I could learn it faster. (Since I really made aliyah to have access to what I believe is better torah Literature here) But if you are skilled, language isn't a barrier. (All the people I work with were born in Israel)

Anonymous said...

" so NBN should be offering olim different options other than the Jm, RBS, Raanana, Yad Binyamin options like Yehud, Lod, and more.

5:49 PM, June 27, 2011"

I came through NBN and didn't get introduced to any of those cities, since I said I didn't want to be surrounded by anglos. In other words, they do offer many different options. You should look at their website list of communities more closely.

Anonymous said...

I won't even visit, knowing that my money is going to support yeshivas that teach nothing of practical value and kollels that encourage parasites to live off the government.

Anonymous said...

NBN is a sham of an organization, and the statistics that they WON'T publish (about how many of their "success stories" are back in their countries of origin within 5 years) are clear testament to that. In their building in Jerusalem, they had a photo display which I presume they'll have taken down, as over 50% of those "olim" no longer live in Israel.

And where does the above anonymous get 8000 NIS as an average wage from? You can tell that he/she only hangs out with affluent Anglos!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if that 8,000 shekel number is average or mean/median (I forget which is which)

This website,

Lists salaries ranging from 4,500 shekels per month, to 35,000 shekels per month.

That's really a huge gap.

re "I won't even visit, ": Um, so don't give money to those yeshivas? If you want you can spend your money on Christian seminaries, or even Palestinian olives, a Muslim mosque or two, or perhaps one of the various Universities. Seriously, that's a really stupid statement.

re "NBN is a sham of an organization,": Yes, quite the sham. You give them $100, and they give you thousands. Those sneaky conniving bastards giving away free money to people who are fulfilling a mitzvah. How dare they!?


tzvi said...

Age discrimination is a big problem on hi-tech everywhere in the world, not just Israel.

Disclaimer: I'm a young hi-tech worker.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

A few comments:

Anonymous said...I won't even visit, knowing that my money is going to support yeshivas that teach nothing of practical value and kollels that encourage parasites to live off the government.

Why do you think your visit supports yeshivot (unless, you visit and donate money to yeshivot and kollels while you're here). Secondly, your comment is simply boorish and uneducated. Why not comment over at Yeshiva World News and have a lively comment war there?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

For the commenter who said that NbN is a "Sham" of an organization, lets get some facts straight.

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (do you consider them a sham as well?) publishes quarterly indicators available to the public, even in English.

Average monthly wages-Jobs of Israelis - March 2011: 8,996 NIS

Since the average salary in almost 9000 NIS a month, the commenter above has absolutely nothing to do with "hanging out with affluent anglos".

NbN is free to publish whatever stats they want, yet I dont believe their yerida stats approach 50% over 5 years.

josh said...

Jam and all, average salary is a bad statistic. Then again, so is median. You see, this includes many, many part-time people out of choice - students, mothers and others. The ultimate statistics would be to mention both median and average net salary of full-time workers.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Josh; Net salary? No one in Israel goes by net salary...its always gross/bruto.

Anonymous said...

High-tech workers typically make a great deal more than the 'average' wage. I'm almost 50, and have had no problems getting work. I do speak fluent Hebrew, but I'm actually working with English speakers (this in Jerusalem).

But that is all beside the point... which is, that for the first time in two millenia, Jews can live freely in our Land.

Yes, it's not perfect. Yes, it can be difficult. But it is ours. Don't make the mistake of the Spies and slander the Land... that's an unhealthy thing to do!

Nachum said...

By the way, the US fudges statistics too. Some estimate that actual unemployment is about 14%.

annie said...

Unemployment may be down but not for everyone. My son (sabra, fluent in English and Ivrit) learned in a "white" yeshiva for a few years, did hesder army service and finished a degree in Biotech in Bar Ilan last year. He also finished a course as Clinical Research Assistant. To date he has found... zilch. Oh, sorry, he had one job offer, from a very big pharma company who offered him a temporary job at such a low wage and such bad conditions he had to turn it down. (He is married with 4 children). This non-living wage included 6 days a week full time, compulsory overtime and they refused to pay his travel expenses (from a settlement near Ariel to Jerusalem).

He's not "officially" unemployed because baruch Hashem my brother gave him a job in his accountancy firm but this is not a permanent solution.

Biotech, wave of the future... "Aleck" as the Israeli youngsters would say. Unless Israeli companies offer a living wage to qualified people, unemployment will begin to grow again.

josh said...

Annie, tell him to take the job. Get his foot in the door, network, etc... If the company is breaking work laws, then you have to tough it out for a few months and then sue them in work court where the employee is usually given proper compensation. Life is hard.

Reminds me of the whining law gard students. Many might want to bring justice to the world, but most have their eye on large salaries. Some don't realize that it takes a few years of long hours and sweat to get there.

My first job offer out of university about ten years ago was in a business position at a proper pharmaceutical company in Petach Tikva for only 5200NIS a month. With no experience, you better believe I grabbed that chance to get my feet wet.

Commenter Abbi said...

I agree with Josh- you have to start somewhere. And it's not the company's fault that your son is starting out after graduating with 4 kids. Most new grads have maybe one or 2 kids at the most. Starting salaries are low, that's the nature of starting salaries. I agree, he should have taken the job and networked and worked his way up and/or sued for proper compensation.

Anonymous said...

Jameel- we are not the spies. We are the realists.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous; You are mistaking me for another commenter. I didnt compare anyone to the spies.

When I made aliya, (just out of university) I was ready to take the first high tech job available...for a 3 month trial period of 1500 NIS/month.

1500 NIS...and I was still willing to take the job, because it would be my first job right out of college, and in the high tech field.

You have to be prepared to start with an entry level salary job, in order to move up.

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