Israel recorded its worst economic performance in more than 40 years with its annual GDP plummeting more than 28 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) reported Sunday.
In a quarterly calculation, that translates to 8.1 percent, after the quarterly drop of 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to ICBS indicating that Israel has officially entered an economic recession, which by definition occurs when a country registers a negative growth rate for at least two quarters in a row.
In addition, private consumption sank by more than 43 percent, according to ICBS. The most dramatic figure of expenses cut was in travel, culture and recreational services, which saw approximately 80 percent of their income slashed.
The key factor driving the recession is the coronavirus pandemic and the government intervention measures of lockdowns and restrictions to curtail the spread of the disease.
However, compared to other nations, Israel did not register the worst economic outcome. The United States’ economy shrank by close to 33 percent, Italy and France recorded a reduction of more than 40 percent, and Spain and the United Kingdom registered a contraction of more than 50 percent.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the drop is half that of countries in Europe, and is among the lowest decreases of the economy in the world. "We are approving now in the government another NIS8.5 billion [$2.5 billion] to encourage our economy and create jobs. I know there’s still large economic distress -- we are working around the clock to make it easy for you, citizens of Israel,” the prime minister said.