Israel’s Unemployed near 1 Million

At the start of the month of October, the number of active jobseekers registered with Israel’s Employment Service Bureau was close to 1 million – or 995,700, 25 % of the workforce. However, as the lockdown was eased towards the end of the month the number had declined to 940,300. These data appear to be very similar to the unemployment numbers from the first lockdown, imposed in mid-March, during which over one million workers were unemployed.

"We are the economic crisis – The student struggle to decrease tuition payments"

“We are the economic crisis – The student struggle to decrease tuition payments” (Israeli Students’ Union Facebook)

A new report published by Israel’s Employment Service Bureau warns of “chronic unemployment,” as the figures showed that in October a larger percentage of workers who lost their jobs were being fired rather than just being put on furlough, or unpaid leave, compared to previous months.

“Every wave of unemployment intensifies the difficulty of those who fail to return to work, and their risk of descending into chronic unemployment increases,” said in a statement Rami Garor, the head of Israel’s Employment Service Bureau. Even so, the majority of jobless people signing up at the Employment Service are still furloughed rather than fired; the report said, with younger workers — those up to 35 years of age — continuing to be the worst hit, in particular women.

The youngest members of the working class — aged 24 and below — accounted for more than a fifth of those who signed up at the bureau seeking work in October, the report said, accounting for a new record of almost 22%, up from a record 20.7% in September. The number of jobseekers aged 25-35 also jumped in October to 30.7% of all jobseekers, compared to 29.2% in September. This means that workers aged 34 and below accounted for more than half (52.6%) of the jobless in October.

In this age group, only 42.2% said they had returned to work, compared with 57.9% of those aged 35 and above who reported returning to work in October. The youngest workers are among the hardest hit, the report said, as they are most likely to work in the sectors that have been most impacted by the pandemic — stores, restaurants and bars. In the second wave of the pandemic, women were once again among those paying the highest price. In October, 55.6% of those registering at the employment services were women.