The likelihood of an unemployed job seeker finding employment declined by 4% in 2019, according to data published by the Israeli Employment Service on Sunday.In its annual report, the government body evaluated the probability of an unemployed job seeker finding work for the first time, calculating the ratio of the number of job vacancies and the number of job seekers. Following six consecutive years of decline, the number of job seekers increased slightly from approximately 160,700 in 2018 to 161,600 in 2019, the service said. During the past year, there were approximately 97,000 unfilled vacancies, representing a significant decline from 105,000 during 2018.Reflecting the increase in job seekers and decline in vacancies, the probability of a job seeker finding work in 2019 was recorded as 60%, a decline of 4% compared to 2018. Despite the drop, the probability of finding employment has soared in recent years, standing at just 35% as recently as January 2015.Job seeking residents of Tel Aviv were discovered to be most likely to find a job, with over 30,000 vacant positions and under 20,000 registered job seekers. Yet the situation is very different in the northern and southern peripheries, where employment is much harder to find.The likelihood of finding employment in the North was only 28% in 2019, and just 30% in the South. Except for Tel Aviv, there were more job seekers than vacancies in all areas of the country.“This figure indicates the need for many job seekers in the periphery to look for work in the center of the country, and the importance of transportation links connecting the periphery and the center,” the authors of the report said.By occupation, the smallest disparity between job seekers and vacancies was found among workers in the sales and services sector. The largest gap was recorded among job seekers looking for non-professional jobs and senior management positions.“Despite the low unemployment environment, we recognize worrying trends in the labor market in general, and among unemployment benefit claimants in particular, as presented in the report,” said Employment Service director-general Rami Garor. “The Employment Service has prepared a comprehensive and wide-ranging program to deal with these trends and thereby avoid a crisis that could arrive.”The unemployment rate stood at just 3.9% in November, rising from a historic low of 3.4% in October – the lowest level recorded by the Central Bureau of Statistics since 1978. In keeping with internationally accepted standards, being recorded as employed by the CBS requires working in a paid job for as little as one hour per week.According to the report, the number of individuals – with either no or low income – requesting income support dropped by 44% since January 2015, from 110,000 monthly claimants (2.89% of the national labor force) to 62,000 claimants (1.47% of the labor force).Among those claiming unemployment benefits in 2019, 45% of individuals were aged 35-44, and a further 34% belonged to the 18-34 age group. Only 20% of job seekers were aged over 55, the report stated.The State Comptroller’s Office also announced on Sunday that it would examine the readiness of government ministries and the education system for the future job market. The initiative, part of an international working group effort, will evaluate coordination between various government ministries and whether policy-making is carried out with a holistic, forward-looking perspective.Audit teams will examine the preparation of the education system ahead of expected technological developments and the changing need for skills, including an evaluation of long-term strategic planning, and the adaptation of school curricula and high school examinations.The comptroller will also evaluate measures taken by the IDF and Defense Ministry to increase the number of soldiers undergoing training in software development, focusing on high-quality training and presenting soldiers with hi-tech industry opportunities ahead of entering civilian life.