Long Lines outside an employment bureau in Holon
Long Lines outside an employment bureau in Holon
Photo: Yaron Brenner
The Israeli Employment Service

Number of unemployed in Israel uncertain due to contradicting data

Different state entities report various figures - some hundreds of thousands higher than others - due to the criteria each organization employs regarding the jobless

Gad Lior |
Published: 08.25.20, 11:47
Many Israelis have found themselves out of work in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions on the economy it warranted.
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  • However, the exact number of unemployed remains uncertain as three different state entities report various figures. These differences stem from the criteria each organization employs in classifying the unemployed.
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    לשכת התעסוקה
    לשכת התעסוקה
    The Israeli Employment Service
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    The Israeli Employment Service reports the highest unemployment figures with some 847,000 Israelis currently considered to be jobless.
    This number may be inflated due to people failing to report returning to their place of work. Officials estimate that around 100,000-150,000 Israelis have returned to work and have yet to report so.
    The National Insurance Institute reports that about 580,000 Israelis are currently receiving unemployment benefits and income security.
    However, some workers, who have been placed on unpaid leave and are documented at the Israeli Employment Service, are not eligible by law for such financial aid.
    3 View gallery
    Long Lines outside an employment bureau in Holon
    Long Lines outside an employment bureau in Holon
    Long Lines outside an employment bureau in Holon
    (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
    The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that 513,000 people have lost their jobs and are currently unemployed, but these figures include workers who have been furloughed and are still technically registered as employees at their place of work, even though many of them have been placed on unpaid leave for 22 weeks.
    According to a study carried out by the Finance Ministry and published in early August, it would take Israel between four-five years to recover to pre-pandemic employment levels. Before the beginning of the pandemic, Israel's unemployment rate stood at under 5%.
    The study also showed the past two months' stagnation in the labor market highlights opposing trends in different industries.
    Although there has been a gradual recovery in sectors less affected by the crisis - such as the high tech sector - parts of the economy limited by public health restrictions, such as the retail and hospitality sectors, continue to struggle.
    3 View gallery
    Employment bureau in central Israel
    Employment bureau in central Israel
    Employment bureau in central Israel
    The shutdown of the Israeli economy following the coronavirus pandemic has also resulted in higher unemployment rates among women than men, according to a report published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.
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