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Tag: Unemployment

The Palestinian Authority: How It Looks From Here

Perhaps it is time for the Palestinian Authority to call off suicide picketing and get to work on life in their own borders. They will find this is the root to independence!

Swift economic growth in the West Bank is not enough to keep up with population growth, says a new UNRWA report. The jobless rate rose in the second half of 2010 to 25% of the region’s workforce from 21.7% in the first of the year and 23.6% in the second half of 2009. Unemployment increased even as the gross domestic product rose 7.6% last year.

Salem Ajluni, a UNRWA economic consultant said:

“There is fairly robust population growth and fairly robust labor force growth, so you need a pretty rapid rate of job creation to absorb it…You need tens of thousands new jobs each year sustainably just to maintain unemployment rates at existing levels.”

UNWRA figures however show that the number of jobs in the West Bank increased over 14,000 in 2010, or 2.6%, while, the number of people in the labor force, which the agency defines broadly to include people employed, actively looking for work as well as those who have given up, rose 4.6%.

However, the Palestinian Authority’s calculations are different.

They put the rate at 17% and say the jobless rate has been falling.

In the Gaza strip, an easing of Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade has had positive fiscal affects and foreign assistance to the West Bank, threatened by the Hamas-Fatah merger, has actually spurred a consumer and building spike.

After the threat to the PA’s foreign aid, which does make up the majority of its cash assets, it is vital to realize how the building of Jewish settlements will only increase Palestinian employment in the West Bank.

As it stands, employment in the public sector, which has been the direct beneficiary of foreign financial aid, grew by 3.6% in the second half of 2010. And in the private sector, the number of jobs declined by 1.7% while employment in Israel and in Israeli communities located in the West Bank it fell 3.6%.

Also, to further put life into the economy, all boycotts on Israeli trade must be called off.

Hey, a little self-reliance never hurt!

Mazal Tov Israel

On Thursday, the Bank of Israel increased its 2011 GDP growth forecast to 5.2 percent from 4.5 percent and lowered its unemployment rate forecast to 5.8 percent – lowest ever

The Bank of Israel’s growth forecast is in fact lower than the OECD forecast – 5.4 percent – announced earlier in the week. They are also predicting 4.2 percent GDP growth in the coming year and no change in the impressive unemployment rate.

The bank issued a statement saying:

“The rapid growth of GDP and use of resources in the first quarter, and in particular the surge in exports and fixed investment, resulted in an upward revision of most items. Despite the rapid increase in exports, the surplus in the current account of the balance of payments is expected to be significantly smaller than in the previous forecast, because of a faster increase in imports and a more severe deterioration in the terms of trade. The quarterly rates of growth are expected to slow a little in the course of the year as the economy converges to a full employment situation.”

And as for 2012:

“Exports are expected to continue increasing, at a rate slightly below that of world trade, due to both external forces – the deterioration in the terms of trade – and the level of the real exchange rate. The steep increase in capital stock, the result of the expansion of investment in 2011; and the continued rise in the rate of participation in the labor force to 58%, are expected to contribute to a growth rate in 2012 in excess of the potential rate, despite the fact that the economy is in a full employment environment.”

The prediction is 4 percent growth in private consumption for both this year and next; export growth (excluding diamonds) of 6.3 percent this year and 6.2 percent in 2012, import growth (not including defense and diamonds) of 11.5 percent and 6.7 percent respectively, and investment in fixed assets growth of 15.4 percent and 6.8 percent.

The forecast is evidence of stability in Israel’s geopolitical situation and continued smooth riding – knock on wood – in the global economy with no serious fiscal crises developing.

Meanwhile, in IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) in 2011, Israel is number one in the world in total expenditures of R&D as percentage of GDP, central bank policy, entrepreneurship and scientific research. Also, in 2011 Israel was ranked by IMD, the second in the world in access to venture capital and public expenditure for education.

Israeli Women Continue To Make Less Than Men

The average woman in Israel lives to age 83, gives birth to three children, and makes a third less than the average man, according to recent data published by the Central Statistics Bureau in honor of International Women’s Day – celebrated on May 8.Israeli Women Continue To Make Less Than Men

The bureau did find that in the past year, women have climbed further up the corporate ladder, with the percentage holding managerial positions having nearly doubled what it was in 1990.

The number of women who work while attending an institute of higher education also is significantly on the rise from observations in the past decade: from 39% to 48%.

The differences however in salaries, remain similar despite the progress made by women in the workforce. In 2008 the average male monthly salary was $2,548, while the female average was only $1,609 – or 37% less.

One explanation is this: women tend to work shorter hours than men, but hourly rates were also compared and found to be different, with women making 27% less than men on average, per hour.

The bureau’s data also shows that 152,500 women gave birth in 2008. Sadly around 11% of all pregnancies were aborted. Israeli women give birth to three children on average and live to the age of 83, while the average life expectancy for men is 79 years.

The bureau found that of all women aged 20-45 who worked and gave birth, around 25% ceased working, while just 1% of men stopped working due to a new baby. 16% of women lessened their work hours after giving birth, while just 3% of men were found to have done the same.

The number of women studying for their bachelor’s degree is steadily rising, with numbers reaching 55% of all students in 2008. 58% of all students studying for a master’s degree are women, as well as 52% of those found in the process of acquiring their doctorates.

Women are present in the highest percentage in education studies – showing 86%, as well as nursing – showing 81%. Though in the fields of architecture and engineering their numbers are lowest – just 27%.

Happy Days Here Again?

Unemployment center
“They certainly look happy, don’t they?”

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Sung during the Great Depression, and composed by J. Yellen and M. Ager

Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz appeared happy when it was announced that the numbers of unemployed Israelis had decreased to “only” 17.5 thousand new claims in Jun/July, as compared to 18.6 thousand during May, or a decrease of 5%. That, according to Steinitz, brings the total number of redundant workers down to “a more manageable level” of slightly less than a quarter million souls. Another statistic that appears to cause both Mr. Fischer and Steinitz to smile is that the number of people being fired from various jobs fell by 2.2.% as compared to previous months.

But if all this is supposed to be such great news, why are so many not smiling, or whistling modern versions of Happy Days are Here Again? And why did the Bank of Israel have to go out and purchase another 100 million dollars on top of the 250 million the bank bought a few days earlier to try to stem the continuing decline of the Greenback? Perhaps things aren’t as “happy” as Fischer and Steinitz want us to think?

During the summer months, unemployment figures always seem to drop a bit for a number of reasons, including many people finding temporary summer jobs, or taking a vacation due to their kids being out of school; or simply waiting for the job market to pick up again in the fall. This logic is particularly true for women who are now unemployed from high tech or similar higher paying positions, and have decided to be home with their children instead of having to pay for expensive day care; since the greatest day care “plans” around , school and pre-school, are both out on summer break.

Another factor deals with people who out of desperation have taken lower paying jobs as cashiers, security guards and even maintenance workers that pay only minimum wage or slightly higher; making them under employed as compared to their former status. All of this goes along with a statement made the other day by U.S. President Barack Obama, when he told a press meeting that “we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel regarding the end of the current recession”. He almost broke in a version of the Happy Days song himself while making this statement, apparently giving himself the credit for any improvement in the still faltering U.S. economy.

But getting back to what’s happening on this side of the pond, it’s still far too early to whistle any happy tunes; especially when many people’s unemployment benefits are about to run dry and local banks are calling on credit card companies to return payments due to lack of funds. We must also bear in mind that when that Happy Days song came out in 1929, the Great Depression had not even begun yet.

So who’s whistling this song now? Maybe Yuval and Stanley are – but a lot of folks aren’t!

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