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Coronavirus: Job seekers decline nearly 14% in April

CM 23/05/2021

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With Israel’s economy recovering quickly on the heels of the country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, Israel Employment Services said Sunday that the total number of job seekers in the country declined by 13.6% during the month of April to 638,650.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits decreased by 14.4% in April from the month earlier, reaching a total of 490,855. IES said. Both figures represent the lowest totals since before the country’s second lockdown began in September.
However, the clock is ticking for many, as the government’s economic safety net package for the pandemic is set to end June 30. Those who lost their jobs or were placed on unpaid leave during the economic crisis had been receiving as much as 70% of their original salaries from the state as an emergency measure, but it is not yet clear what benefits will be given to job seekers come July 1.
Unemployment benefits are already being reduced by 10% as of this week, a month after Israel’s jobless rate reached below 10%, as per the government’s original outline. Benefits for May will be paid by June 12, and a comprehensive plan for continued benefits for job seekers will be published by that date, Finance Minister Israel Katz has said.
Israel will seek to create a plan that will steer more people toward returning to the workforce while providing for the many households that legitimately need the help. Several plans have been floated to tie future benefits to a person’s age, marital status and efforts to find new work or retrain.
The latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, which operates independently of IES, said that unemployment fell to 8% in the second half of April. Jobless rates have been falling faster than expected since Israel’s economy began reopening in the beginning of April.
Meanwhile, the number of businesses looking to hire is growing. There are now 4.9 job seekers available for every job available in the market, IES said. However, it noted, when people on unpaid leave from their employers are removed from the picture, there are 1.9 job seekers for every job vacancy, just a bit worse than the 1.7 rate before the pandemic started.

Rami Graur, CEO of the Employment Service: “Most of those returning to the labor force are those who had been on halat (unpaid leave), but there remains many who think they are on unpaid leave but do not yet know that they have actually been fired,” said Rami Graur, CEO of IES. “We are focused on helping populations remain unemployed even after June 2021, when the automatic safety net ends. IES is using all of its resources, placing thousands of people every month, and conducting hundreds of workshops, consultations, training, and job fairs. Just last week, in collaboration with the Histadrut, we held a huge virtual fair where tens of thousands of people heard lectures and chatted live with employment service workers.”
Separately, Israel’s large movie theater chains are preparing to open Thursday, with word that the Health Ministry will release new directives that will allow children to enter the theater. Currently, unvaccinated people, including all children under age 16, are not allowed to visit movie theaters. That made it extremely difficult for the large theaters to operate profitably, so they have remained closed until now.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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