Israelis are borrowing more, according to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics. In its latest report on credit, the CBS said that total debt had risen NIS 5 billion from the beginning of the year to the end of the first quarter. Total debt among Israelis is now NIS 562 billion.
Much of that increase was clearly based on consumer credit. According to the statistics, debt not related to housing (i.e., mortgages) rose by NIS 3.6 billion during the first quarter, from NIS 12.1 billion to NIS 15.7 billion. Credit card debt, meanwhile, rose from NIS 18.6 billion to NIS 21 billion. Both those types of credit are used mostly for consumer debt. Much of the credit also was granted directly through companies offering financing, not through banks.
In addition, unemployment in the first quarter reached a historic low. Unemployment fell to 3.6%, from 3.8% at the end of 2017. Nearly all of the jobs were for full-time positions, employment at which increased 6% during the quarter. Part-time employment, meanwhile, fell 2%. A total of 63.5% of Israelis aged 15 through 64 were employed during the quarter.