Unemployment in Israel Expected to Soar to 15 Percent in Two Years

Israel’s already gloomy job picture could darken considerably in the years ahead, according to the latest forecast by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

The rate of unemployment may reach 15 percent by the end of 1992, the ministry reports. In absolute terms, this means more than 250,000 Israelis unemployed, compared to 165,000 currently without jobs.

The forecast, prepared by the ministry’s director general, Shmuel Slavin, was presented this week to the ministerial employment committee and a committee of directors general that deals with immigrant absorption.

According to the dismal forecast, some 45,000 Israelis will join the pool of unemployed labor for each of the next three years. And this does not take into account the new immigrants who will arrive.

The immigrants are expected to add from 80,000 to 90,000 names to the roster of unemployed Israelis every year. That estimate is based on a predicted immigration rate of 150,000 to 200,000 every year.

Some 1,025,000 Israelis are presently unemployed in the business sector. Another 450,000 civil service workers are without jobs.

Assuming that the public sector does not increase in the next few years because of the government’s efforts to cut its budget, the burden of employment will fall on the private sector. But that will only happen if the economy grows.

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