Israel joblessness up 20 percentage points

Israel's unemployment rate has soared to 24 per cent amid efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Israel's unemployment rate has soared to 24 per cent amid efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Israel's unemployment rate has exploded during the course of just one month as economic activity has nearly ground to a halt in response to far-reaching measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

There are now more than 1 million unemployed Israelis, according to the country's Employment Service - the first time in the country's history that the figure has been so high, according to media reports.

In February, the unemployment rate was at 4.0 per cent. Based on the figures released on Wednesday, that figure now stands at 24 per cent.

Israel, which has a population of roughly 9 million, has implemented workplace restrictions that limit the number of employees who can be at work to 15 per cent of staff, or no more than 10.

Those who do show up must have their temperature taken and sign a form stating that they do not have any symptoms.

Many freelance employees are without work, while other employees have been forced into taking unpaid vacation.

The government has unveiled an assistance plan worth about 80 billion shekels ($A37.1 billion) to boost the economy.

Australian Associated Press