Nearly 40% of unemployed Israelis are young people between the ages of 18 and 34, around 80% of whom are searching for jobs with no success, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics and first published by Davar.

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Unemployment among young people in Israel has become a continuous phenomenon. The head of the Bank of Israel, Amir Yaron, warned recently that the current unemployment could transform from temporary to structural, as Israel struggles to recover from the pandemic-induced economic crisis. 

As of August 2021, 347,000 Israelis are unemployed, including nearly a quarter of a million (68% of the total) that have been unable to find work. 76,000 Israelis who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis have given up looking for work altogether.

Number of unemployed workers, workers on unpaid leave, and unemployed workers not seeking work, by age (horizontal axis) and thousands of people (vertical axis). (Graphic: IDEA)

Among those from ages 35-59, who constitute 42% of the unemployed in Israel, about 67% are seeking employment unsuccessfully. The situation is more dire for older workers. Among unemployed people aged 60 and older, only 38% continue to seek employment, compared to 41% who have stopped looking.

These statistics, based on a survey conducted in August, paint a worrying picture of the job market, particularly for young people. Approximately 210,000 of the unemployed workers, constituting 60% of the total, are under the age of 45. But rather than embarking on the beginning of a career path, these workers are faced with long-term unemployment.

Out of the total number of unemployed workers, only 58,000 have been unemployed for the past two years, or since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining 288,000 workers, 83% of the total, fell into unemployment within the last two years.

Breakdown by Profession

  • Approximately 39,000 of the unemployed, 11% of the total, have previously worked in retail, the most of any single profession.
  • The field with the next most unemployed workers is education with 31,000, or nine percent.
  • About 28,000 of the unemployed, or eight percent, worked in the fields of health and social services.
  • The remainder worked in the fields of dining and hospitality (7%), management (6%), industry (6%), scientific and technical services (5%), and local administration (4%).
  • An additional 9,000 of the unemployed worked in finance, 7,000 in arts and entertainment, and 7,000 in media.
  • Four thousand of the unemployed worked in real estate, 2,000 in agriculture and fishing, and 2,000 in sewage and waste treatment.

Number of unemployed workers, workers on unpaid leave, and unemployed not seeking work, by geographic location. (Graphic: IDEA)

Breakdown by Region

  • 41% of the unemployed – 143,000 people in total – live in Tel Aviv and the surrounding region.
  • The north and south of the country are each home to about 57,000 unemployed individuals, or 16% each.
  • 43,000 of the unemployed, 12% of the total, reside in Haifa, and another 37,000 (11%) live in Jerusalem.
  • Three percent of the unemployed live in the West Bank.