Almost half of Israelis who are unemployed and not in full-time education are under the age of 34, higher than most other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a report from the Israeli Employment Service released Tuesday said.
According to the report, people under the age 34 made up 48% of all unemployed people in Israel during the height of the coronavirus crisis (March-April). In January and February, however, those under 34 made up 42% of all jobless in the country.
The report was compiled by Dr. Gal Zohar, the head of Research And Policy at the Employment Service, and researcher Ofri Yechiel. It also states that approximately 61% of unemployed people under the age of 24 are women - a figure possibly explained by their shorter military service compared to men.
The study also found that only about 20% of all unemployed people under the age of 24 had returned to work by the end of May, compared to 22-25% among other age groups.
The central explanation for the relatively slow return of young people to the workplace is that many are employed in industries that have not yet resumed full operations, in particular restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues.
The Employment Service said that, "some young people [up to the age of 24] who are seeking work come from disadvantaged populations that are exempt from military service [such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities] or are young people who come from a weak socioeconomic background and either do not enlist or complete full military service."
The Employment Service also warned that, "there is a fear that the coronavirus crisis will have a serious impact on young people."
The Service stated that during the 2008 global economic crisis, “young people with the lowest levels of education were most affected and remained at a high unemployment rate; many became economically inactive and their recovery after the crisis was slow compared to other sectors."
The number of young people in Israel who do not work or study is higher than in 24 countries of of the 37-member OECD, and the Service warned of the possibility that the coronavirus crisis will only exacerbate the gap between Israel and other countries in the organization.
The director-general of the Employment Service, Rami Garor, cautioned that "young people with lower socioeconomic backgrounds at the beginning of their professional career are already faced with barriers to entry when starting a job, and may be pushed out of the workforce due to unemployment."
Economy Minister Amir Peretz said: "I have instructed my office to prepare a plan to enable a mass return of employees to the workforce. The coronavirus disease is a serious illness, but unemployment is just as difficult."