Israel’s unemployment rate for March has remained at 5.3%, a historic low maintained for the second consecutive month, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.
The figure represents a 0.1 percentage point drop in unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2015, bringing jobless figures to 202,000.
The data suggested that during the first fiscal quarter of the year, unemployment among men came to 5.1%, while jobless rates among women came to 5.5%.
A CBS survey held among 21,900 Israeli adults further found that for the first time is Israel’s history, unemployment among those aged 25 to 64 has dropped below the psychological threshold of 5%, measuring 4.7% among men and 4.8% among women.
According to the data, unemployment was the highest in Jerusalem (6.9%), followed by the Beersheba area (6.6%) and the Galilee region (5.8%). Jobless rates in the greater Tel Aviv area measured 4.4%.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the minimum wage hike ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December came into effect Thursday, raising the minimum wage in Israel from 4,300 shekels ($1,115) to 4,650 shekels ($1,205).
The increase is part of a plan to raise minimum wage in Israel to 5,000 shekels ($1,296) by late 2017.
As per Netanyahu’s agreement with Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Avi Nissankoren, the hike will be implemented in three stages: The first on April 1; the second set for August 1, when minimum wage will increase to 4,825 shekels ($1,251); and the third planned for January 1, 2017, when minimum wage will be 5,000 shekels.
The move was sanctioned by the Bank of Israel despite past objections to similar moves.
The minimum wage hike now excludes disability benefits. The National Insurance Institute has pledged to work with the Finance Ministry to resolve the issue and ensure the payments are made retroactively.
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