The Bank of Israel recently estimated that by the end of the year the unemployment rate in Israel, on the broad definition of unemployment, would reach 17-20%. Now, two months before the end of the year, it turns out that the situation is even worse. According to the manpower survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics for the first half of October, the "broad" rate of unemployment in Israel is 22.7%, or 937,500 people out of work, 170,000 more than in the second half of September.
What is the broad rate of unemployment? The figure combines three groups of unemployed. The first is unemployed people under the classic definition: people aged 15 and over who did not work at all in the week preceding the survey and who are looking for work. There has been a marked deterioration in this group, and the number of unemployed by this criterion rose from 165,000 (4.2%) in the second half of September to 205,100 (5.1%) in the first two weeks of October.
The second layer is workers aged 15 and over who are on unpaid leave. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics' definition, these are "unemployed people who were temporarily absent from work for the entire week for reasons connected to the coronavirus." In this group too there has been a deterioration, and in the latest statistics it numbers 627,000, 120,000 more than in the second half of September.
This third and final group consists of people who had lost their jobs since March but were not looking for work in the four weeks preceding the survey, whether because they had despaired of finding any or for other reasons. The situation in this group too has worsened. In the second half of September it numbered some 95,000 people; in the first half of October the number was 105,000. Altogether, the three groups now total 937,500 unemployed.
It should be pointed out that in the period in question, the first two weeks of October, Israel was under a general lockdown. Will the relaxation of the last couple of weeks have an impact on the labor market? We will receive the answer to that question in the coming weeks.
The manpower survey is carried out routinely by the Central Bureau of Statistics. In the first half of October, 8,900 people aged 15 and over were interviewed. In the first half of September, the sample consisted of 7,100 interviewees. The survey population consists of permanent residents of the State of Israel, and tourists and temporary residents staying continuously in Israel for more than one year.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 2, 2020
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