|The labor market
The labor force in Q3/2013 increased to 43.6% of those aged 15 and above, that is, 1.161 million persons. The labor force participation rate was 44.9% in the West Bank and 41.4% in the Gaza Strip. Participation in the labor force was much higher for men than for women in both regions. Labor force participation was relatively low for the youth, particularly those aged between 15 and 19 years of age.
The unemployment rate was 23.7% in Q3/2013, reflecting a slight improvement compared to 24.3% in Q3/2012. The drop in unemployment was observed in the West Bank, where the unemployment rate decreased slightly from 20.4% in Q3/2012 to 19.1% in Q3/2013. In the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, the unemployment rate increased slightly from 31.9% in Q3/2012 to 32.5% in Q3/2013. When discouraged workers were added (‘relaxed definition’), the unemployment rate increased, particularly in the West Bank.
Women were more affected by unemployment than men in both regions, and despite their low labor force participation rate, more than half of economically active women in the Gaza Strip were unemployed in Q3/2013. Refugees in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had a higher unemployment rate than non-refugees. Age was also correlated to unemployment, with the youth experiencing the highest rates. A total of 57.9% of 20-to-24-year-olds in the Gaza Strip, for example, were jobless – the highest rate of any age group in either region. The average duration of unemployment in Q3/2013 decreased by less than one month for both women and men in the West Bank compared to Q2/2013, and it decreased by more than one month for both sexes in the Gaza Strip. Still, the average period of unemployment was more than twice as long in the Gaza Strip as in the West Bank for either sex. Similarly the period was longer for women than for men in both regions.
The number of persons employed increased between Q3/2012 and Q3/2013 by approximately 40,800. In the West Bank, where employment increased the most, the greatest gains were observed in construction and commerce. In the Gaza Strip, employment increased most notably in commerce, while a significant drop was registered in the construction sector.
Average daily net wages increased in the West Bank in Q3/2013 compared to Q2/2013, but they fell in the Gaza Strip, compounding an already significant disparity between the two regions. In Q3/2013 average daily net wages were NIS87.5 in the West Bank and NIS66.1 and the Gaza Strip. Although average daily net wages were higher for men than for women in the West Bank, the situation was reversed in the Gaza Strip. While the public sector offered considerably higher average daily wages than the private sector in both regions, the highest wages were still found in Israel and Israeli settlements.