הביטוח לאומי סניף פתח תקווה
Israelis queuing at the National Insurance Institute offices in Petah Tikva
Photo: Yariv Katz
Israelis queuing at the National Insurance Institute offices in Petah Tikva

Ombudsman: Unemployment data faulty, decision-making affected

Matanyahu nglman says that lack of real-time data regarding job seekers during coronavirus pandemic has harmed state’s efforts to provide assistance to both the jobless and those actively seeking work

Gad Lior |
Updated: 09.10.20 , 18:26
There is no feasible way to determine how many people are currently unemployed in Israel or to deduce the steps needed to repair the labor market, according to a report released Thursday by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman.
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  • According to the report, every relevant body in Israel is announcing different data on number of unemployed, those on unpaid leave and those seeking employment.
    הביטוח לאומי סניף פתח תקווההביטוח לאומי סניף פתח תקווה
    Israelis queuing at the National Insurance Institute offices in Petah Tikva
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    As a result, decision-makers lack the information they need when deciding if Israel should introduce another closure that would adversely affect the economy.
    Englman said that the lack of real-time data regarding job seekers during the pandemic has hurt the state’s efforts to provide assistance to both the unemployed and those seeking work.
    The full report is expected to be published in the coming months, with the state comptroller examining 15 aspects of the state's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
    Engelman said that he decided to publish the interim report in order to improve the functioning of the National Insurance Institute and the government during the contagion, and to help them prepare for any challenges that may arise in the wake of the pandemic.
    The report also states that the National Insurance Institute lacks real-time data regarding the number of the employed, their wages and the number of job seekers due to the coronavirus crisis. Such a lack severely hinders government decision-making that would aid citizens, the comptroller said.
    מתניהו אנגלמן עם דו"ח המבקר 70אמתניהו אנגלמן עם דו"ח המבקר 70א
    State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman
    (Photo: Tadmit)
    Unemployment data is currently gathered by three different bodies: The National Insurance Institute, which counts the recipients of unemployment benefits according to the number of claims; the Employment Service, which only counts job seekers who have applied for assistance; and the Central Bureau of Statistics, which relies on the surveys it conducts.
    In June, for example, the Employment Service reported 862,000 job seekers in Israel, the CBS reported 401,000 and the NII reported 521,000.
    At the height of the pandemic in April, the Employment Service reported 1.125 million unemployed in Israel, the CBS reported 1.413 million and the National Insurance Institute reported 902,000.
    National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler
    National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler
    (Photo: Omer Mesinger)
    "I decided to present to the National Insurance Institute and the Finance Ministry recommendations for measures that could improve assistance to the unemployed and the service provided to the public," Englman said.
    First published: 17:05 , 09.10.20
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