Changes in Labor Force Survey Data and Their Meaning
Author: Eran Yashiv Policy Research

In 2012, the Central Bureau of Statistics began to conduct its labor force surveys in a new way: the central differences were major changes in the sampling and a move from a quarterly to a monthly survey. 

The change brought about some significant differences in the data.  In particular, amongst Arab Israelis there was a dramatic jump in the unemployment rate; it was approximately two times greater in men and three times in women.  Following this, the estimates of the unemployment rate in the overall population also rose.  Labor force participation rates amongst all populations examined – men and women, Jews and Arabs – were higher than reported by the old survey method.  It thus seems that there is a more serious problem of unemployment in the Arab sector than what was reflected by the old survey and it is important to give greater emphasis to steps to deal with this unemployment.  At the same time, the picture of the labor force participation rates in Israel, an issue that is central to labor market problems, is somewhat better than it had been believed to be.

This paper appears in the Center’s annual publication State of the Nation Report – Society, Economy and Policy 2011-2012.

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