Employment Service: 110,000 people register as unemployed in less than a week

Over 800,000 now jobless; number laid off has soared since start of lockdown; 80% of new applicants were also left jobless by 1st lockdown earlier this year

Illustrative: Closed businesses for COVID-19 pandemic outbreak (Maridav; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: Closed businesses for COVID-19 pandemic outbreak (Maridav; iStock by Getty Images)

Since the beginning of the country’s second coronavirus lockdown, 109,378 Israelis have registered as unemployed, with nearly 100,000 of them having been placed on unpaid leave, the National Employment Service said Wednesday.

The statement related to the six-day period between Thursday, the day before the start of the new lockdown, until Wednesday morning. Over 28,000 of those were added in the past day alone.

Current numbers indicate that a total of 802,314 people are registered as unemployed nationwide — constituting about a fifth of the workforce — with 472,734 of them on unpaid leave

Israel imposed a new national coronavirus lockdown Friday, the country’s second, marking the first time a developed country has imposed a repeat closure to curb the pandemic. The lockdown is set to last at least three weeks, but observers have said it might very well last longer as the country struggles with record daily cases.

The Employment Service said that for nearly 80 percent of the new applicants (86,738), it was the second time they have registered as unemployed since the start of the pandemic in Israel in March.

While the government was praised for its initial handling of the pandemic, implementing a strict lockdown in March, many Israelis have expressed frustration at the cabinet’s perceived mismanagement of the health crisis in recent months, and many have decried the second lockdown as being a fatal blow to their livelihoods after a perceived lack of financial support during the first lockdown.

The latest figures Wednesday pushed the number of Israel’s confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak past the 200,000 mark — 203,136 — a month after the country hit 100,000 cases.

There were 1,317 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday evening, with 658 patients in serious condition, including 177 on ventilators.

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