Unemployment Rate in Israel Drops to Record Low, Increasing Inflation Concerns
The unemployment rate in Israel reached a record low of 3.1% in August, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. This is the lowest figure since the monthly measurement method was introduced in 2012, indicating a tighter employment market than ever before. In July, the unemployment rate stood at 3.4%, showing a continuous decline.
While this drop in unemployment is generally seen as a positive indicator for the economy, experts warn that it may lead to wage pressures and a subsequent increase in inflation. The Bank of Israel and Governor Prof. Amir Yaron have expressed concerns over this issue, emphasizing the need for some softening in the labor market to maintain inflation within its target range of 3%.
Ronan Menachem, the chief economist of Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, stated that the decrease in the unemployment rate further strengthens the labor market. He believes that the market is essentially in a state of full employment, which has a significant impact similar to the unexpected increase in the consumer price index for August.
Additionally, Menachem highlighted the positive indicators in the employment market, such as the high employment rate and the optimistic outlook regarding job opportunities. He pointed out that despite the low unemployment rate, there are still unfilled positions, indicating a high level of activity in the market.
The salary pressures in the economy are evident in the data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, which showed a 6% increase in salaries in July compared to the previous year. This, combined with the recent increase in the consumer price index, raises concerns about a potential interest rate hike by the Bank of Israel in the near future.
The fear of rising inflation and the possible impact on interest rates is particularly significant as the consumer price index reached an annual rate of 4.1%, surpassing forecasts. Experts suggest that the upcoming interest rate decision by the Bank of Israel may further increase interest rates to 5%.
While the low unemployment rate reflects a positive employment situation in Israel, it is essential to find a balance between a tight job market and maintaining inflation at a manageable level. The government and financial institutions will need to carefully monitor wage pressures and take necessary measures to ensure the stability of the economy.