More Lockdowns, More Jobless

A police roadblock to enforce Covid regulations, on Highway 1 outside Yerushalayim this week. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The extended nationwide coronavirus lockdown has seriously extended the number of Israelis who are jobless.

In the twenty-four period since midday Wednesday, 3,256 people have registered with the Employment Service as unemployed, bringing the total number who have registered since the current lockdown began on December 27 to 141,651. 80,716 of these have registered since the lockdown rules were tightened, representing 57% of those who have registered as unemployed during this lockdown, Globes reported on Thursday.

Self-employed people and education workers have been the hardest hit.

Workers in education were reportedly the largest single group among the newly unemployed since the beginning of the lockdown, accounting for 26.3% of the total. Sales workers comprise 16.3%.

However, over the course of the pandemic since the March outbreak, self-employed have suffered more financially than salaried workers, according to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute quoted by The Jerusalem Post.

The findings were based on data from 150 self-employed workers compiled during the second week of December, between the second and third lockdown.

At that time, about 74% of the self-employed were working, with most (45%) reporting part-time work and just 24% working at pre-corona levels. In contrast, 87% of salaried employees said they were working, with 68% working at the same level as before the crisis.

About 75% of self-employed workers reported a decline in income in November, including 18% who said they had no income at all from their business. That marked a change for the worse from June, when 65% reported lower income, and 13% receiving no income at all. The average reported decline in November income was 47%, compared with 44% for June.

The IDI found that the system of financial aid to the self-employed has been “working well.”

They analyzed government grants on the basis of the drop in personal income (safety net grants); grants covering fixed expenses that self-employed workers had to pay regardless of activity, such as rental fees; and full or partial exemption from municipal tax payments.

“Most people got their money quickly, without requiring any outside help to apply. That shows that the government learned the lessons from the earlier stages of the crisis.”