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With over a million jobless, Israel’s unemployment rate jumps 527%

Israeli forces stand guard at checkpoints within the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions ahead of the Friday Prayer in Jerusalem on 20 March 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces stand guard at checkpoints within the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions ahead of the Friday Prayer in Jerusalem on 20 March 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s shattered economy is showing further signs of slowing down with unemployment rate hitting 25 per cent due to the coronavirus outbreak. The new figure marks a near eight per cent increase in under a week, taking the number of jobless Israelis to over a million for the first time in the country’s history.

Israel’s National Employment Service said today that as many as 1,004,316 people were unemployed of which 35,668 registered jobless over the past two days. According to the Jerusalem Post 7,290 people applied for benefits within the space of 14 hours, between 5pm Wednesday and 7am Thursday.

Representing a staggering 527 per cent increase, almost a quarter of Israel’s workforce are now unemployed compared to only 160,000 prior to the outbreak.

READ: Israel’s virus infections jump 294% in a week

Employment Service Director General Rami Garor was reported in the Times of Israel saying: “Unfortunately, our forecasts have been proven true and we reached a million job-seekers in March.”

Israel fights with coronavirus fears - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Israel fights with coronavirus fears – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Garor added that his organisation was working to “create circumstances” in which the unemployment rate could be lowered and the job market could gradually reopen as much as possible.

A $22.5 billion economic rescue plan has been introduced to help the economy survive the pandemic which has shattered the economy and forced banks into desperate measures.

Just over a week ago, soaring unemployment and shuttered businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak prompted the Bank of Israel to buy $13.4 billion in government bonds in a desperate effort to support the country’s declining economy.

Before the outbreak of the virus, Israel’s unemployment rate stood at 3.6 per cent, which was one of the lowest in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

READ: Israel retools missile production line to mass produce ventilators

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