150K New Jobseekers Added Since Third Lockdown

View of the closed National Insurance Institute branch in downtown Yerushalayim in March 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Employment Service on Sunday reported that 150,159 jobseekers registered with the service since the start of the third nationwide lockdown some three weeks ago, including 5,560 of them who registered over the weekend.

According to the service, 80.8% of them were forced on unpaid leaves while about 18% were fired or chose to resign.

The service added that those working in teaching, education and training continue to be the main group among the new job seekers.

Meanwhile a new study by the Israel Democracy Institute found that self-employed workers have fared much worse than salaried employees during the coronavirus crisis, and the situation has continued to deteriorate since the summer.

The report is based on data from 150 self-employed workers compiled during the second week of December, before the third lockdown, which began at the end of December and was followed by more stringent restrictions starting in the second week of January.

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

When a similar survey was conducted in June, around 80% of self-employed respondents were working, half of whom were working only part-time.

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 was worse than in June, when 65% said they suffered a decline in income, with 13% receiving no income at all. The average reported decline in November income was 47%, compared with 44% for June.

A significant problem was that many small businesses were unable to open at all. The average self-employed business was closed for about seven months between March and December, with 30% closed for eight months and 26% closed for nine months, the report said.

Since the summer, the number of self-employed workers who were forced to close their business has increased. In June, some 20% of self-employed respondents reported having to stop working or close their business, equivalent to some 100,000 workers in total. In December, that number ballooned to 26%, reflecting a total of around 130,000 self-employed Israelis now out of work temporarily or permanently.