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Over 600,000 new job seekers in March alone – and 1 million may be unemployed by Passover

In an update issued on Tuesday morning, the Israel Employment Service reported that 615,834 Israelis have registered as job seekers since the beginning of March. Around 91% of these new job seekers have been put on unpaid leave.

The unemployment rate has now climbed to 18.6% of the population. On Monday night alone, 31,146 people registered as seeking work.

Rami Graur, Director-General of the Employment Service stated: “On the one hand, there was a decrease in the number of people registering as job seekers yesterday as compared to the previous few weeks. However, we estimate that by Passover, we will reach a situation where around a million people are looking for jobs, due to the coronavirus crisis.”

“This is in part due to decisions made by large Israeli companies to close branches, and also to a decision to allow local governments to send their staff on unpaid leave.

“We are continuing to do our best to create solutions and find work for Israelis who are looking for jobs. There are some employers who are currently looking to recruit thousands of employees [such as supermarkets]. All the same, this morning we are sending a third batch of names to Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) with the details of 100,000 job seekers, so that they can claim employment benefit as soon as possible.”