Study: Work force to decrease by 6% in 20 years

Due to country's aging populace, proportionate rise in number of haredim, work force expected to shrink, according to new data.

Haredi men attend a job far in J'lem 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Haredi men attend a job far in J'lem 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The workforce is expected to shrink by 6 percent over the next 20 years due to the country’s aging populace and the proportionate rise in the number of haredim (ultra- Orthodox), according to data released on Monday.
The study, conducted by Eliyahu Ben Moshe on behalf of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, said the proportion of fervently religious Jews in Israel as part of the general population will grow from 12% today to about 17% in 2040.
Israel’s haredim have lower workforce participation rates because many of them devote their lives to Torah study.
The other main cause for the expected reduction in the workforce’s size is the aging population, according to the study.
Over the past two decades, the number of citizens over the age of 65 hovered around 10%. By 2030, however, some 13% will be of retirement age.
Still, Israel has relatively little to worry about its future workforce in comparison to other developed nations. Countries such as Japan and Russia have seen their workforce shrink at much faster rates because of low birthrates.
The unemployment rate in Israel is a sign of its robust economy. Last December the number of unemployed dipped just below 5%, one of country’s lowest rates ever.