|The labor market
The labor force in Q4/2013 increased to 44.5% of those aged 15 and above, that is, 1.194 million persons. The labor force participation rate was 45.7% in the West Bank and 42.4% in the Gaza Strip. Participation in the labor force was much higher for men than for women in both regions, reaching only 17.2% for women in the Gaza Strip. The labor force participation was also relatively low for the youth, particularly those aged between 15 and 19 years of age.
With the expansion of the labor force, the unemployment rate increased to 25.2% in Q4/2013, compared to 22.9% in Q4/2012. Unemployment affected 18.2% of the labor force in the West Bank, a similar proportion to the one observed in Q4/2012. In the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, 38.5% of the labor force was unemployed in Q4/2013, reflecting a rise of 6.3 percentage points compared to Q4/2012. When discouraged workers are added ('relaxed definition'), the unemployment rate is higher by about three percentage points in both regions.
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 Q4/2013. 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 65.6% of 20-to-24-year-olds in the Gaza Strip, for example, were jobless — the highest rate of any age group in either region.
Whereas the average duration of unemployment in Q4/2013 decreased by about a month for women in the West Bank compared to Q3/2013, it increased by about half a month for men in the West Bank and by about 2 months for both men and women in the Gaza Strip. The average period of unemployment was longer for women than for men in both regions, and it was longer in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank, with unemployed women in the Gaza Strip experiencing the longest average period of unemployment (22.5 months).
The number of persons employed increased between Q4/2012 and Q4/2013 by approximately 16,000, all in the West Bank. In the West Bank employment increased in commerce, services and other branches, construction, and transportation, while it decreased mainly in agriculture. In the Gaza Strip, employment increased in commerce and services and other branches, and it decreased in the other categories.
There was a significant disparity in average daily net wages between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Q4/2013 — NIS90.2 vs. NIS64.4. Average daily net wages were higher for men than for women in the West Bank, but the situation was reversed in the Gaza Strip. The public sector offered considerably higher average daily wages than the private sector in both regions, although average wages in Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank remained the highest.