The number of Israelis seeking unemployment benefits has hit one million as the country’s unemployment rate attained a record high 24.1 per cent for March, the government has announced.
The unemployment rate stood at just 3.4 per cent in February.
844,000 have forced to apply for unemployment benefit since March 1, 90 per cent of whom have been furloughed without pay as the coronavirus outbreak and Israel’s strict lockdown regulations traumatises Israeli business.
Statistics suggest that the economic shock has hit the young and women hardest. Nearly half of new applicants (45.6 per cent) are under the age of 35, while 57.7 per cent are women.
On Sunday, the Israeli Employment Service announced an emergency programme designed to help the unemployed, including assisting employers to rehire furloughed workers, skills training, and vocational training for those deemed least likely to re-enter employment quickly.
The Employment Service suggested that one in five workers placed on unpaid leave will not return to work should the coronavirus lockdown continue past mid-April, while the National Insurance Institute estimated on Tuesday that the unemployment figure would continue to rise to around 1.1 million in April and May.