Israel job vacancies slide 18% since outbreak of war with Hamas

Report by Central Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of vacancies for waiters and bartenders dropped by 28%, while openings for construction workers spiked by 47%

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Jerusalem's employment bureau (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Jerusalem's employment bureau (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The number of job vacancies since the outbreak of the war with the Hamas terror group has fallen by about 18 percent amid a massive call-up of workers for reserve duty and as many cities and towns in the south and the north of Israel were evacuated.

The number of job openings has dropped 18% to 93,352  in the first week of November from 114,274 in September, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday. The figure marks the lowest level since February 2021. Data for the report was collected from businesses and companies between mid-October — the second week of the war — and November 7, the statistics bureau said.

On October 7, as many as 3,000 terrorists led by Hamas burst through the border with the Gaza Strip, by land, air and sea, and rampaged murderously through southern communities, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians. At least 240 hostages, including babies and octogenarians, were abducted to Gaza under the cover of a bombardment of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

Israel has vowed to eradicate the Iran-backed Hamas that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, and bring the hostages home.

The Israeli army has called up more than 300,000 reservists to join the fighting. And more than 200,000 people have been displaced from areas along the southern and northern borders.

As a result, about 764,025 Israelis, or 19% of the total workforce, are not working, according to report by the Labor Ministry released on November 13.

Since the war began, many businesses have remained closed or operate on a limited basis. In many cases working parents are taking care of their children at home due to school disruptions, which in turn is affecting productivity, output and demand for employees.

A souvenir shop owner sits on a nearly empty street in Jerusalem’s Old City, following a halt in the tourist influx due to the Israel-Hamas war, November 6, 2023 (Gianluca Pacchiani/Times of Israel)

The biggest change in the decline of worker demand since the start of the war was found in the hospitality and restaurant sector, according to the figures by the statistics bureau. The number of job openings for waiters and bartenders dropped by 28% and for cooks and chefs by 24%. In the tech sector, the number of vacancies for software developers and programmers declined by 12%.

As many foreign laborers have left Israel and Palestinians do not enter the country due to the war with Hamas, a shortage of workers in the construction industry has emerged. Demand for construction workers jumped as job openings rose by 47%, according to the statistics bureau. The number of openings for plasterers, masons, floor tile layers and building frame workers increased by 9%.

Most Popular
read more: