Israel's rate of unemployment for jobseekers and workers on unpaid leave due to the coronavirus pandemic fell slightly in August to 9.8%, compared with 10.3% in July, according to data released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The unemployment rate, however, rose to 5.4% compared to 5.1% in the previous month. The figures are expected to change dramatically in the coming month due to the closure that will begin on Friday and last for at least three weeks.
CBS data shows that the number of unemployed rose to 223,400 in August, compared to 209,300 in July.
In total, the number of unemployed in addition to those placed on unpaid furlough fell to 406,200 in August, compared to 421,900 in July.
This means that some 30,000 Israelis are no longer on unpaid leave, although it is not clear how were fired and how many returned to work.
The Employment Service continues to have different data on the number of unemployed and workers on unpaid leave to the CBS data. According to the Employment Service, there are currently 738,256 registered jobseekers, of which 422,377 are on unpaid leave.
The Employment Service has consistently published significantly higher jobless figures than the CBS, as it is believed those placed on unpaid leave are quicker to register with the Employment Service than those who declare they have returned to work.
There are an estimated 100,000-150,000 members of the workforce who have already returned to their jobs but have not yet reported it.
According to the CBS, less than two-thirds (62.2%) of Israelis aged 15 and over were part of the workforce, or 4,126,300 people in real terms. The number of Israelis who do not participate in the workforce (those who do not seek work at all) stood at 2,508,000 or 37.8%.
This is a relatively low rate for developed countries, primarily because of the low representation of the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors in the Israeli workforce.
The CBS survey of the workforce is conducted on an ongoing basis. In the second half of August 2020, it polled some 9,500 people aged 15 and over on a regular basis. For the entire month, approximately 19,200 people aged 15 and over were surveyed.