Israel’s unemployment rate hit a record high in February, according a survey of job seekers conducted by the Israeli Job Search Center.
The number of unemployed Israeli citizens rose to 16.1 percent from 15.3 percent in January, according the Job Search Institute, a national organization that promotes job creation.
The rate for the entire Middle East rose to 21.4 percent, according an estimate by the International Labour Organization.
The jobless rate in Israel hit a new record high of 15.4% in February from 14.5 percent in the previous month, the Job Seek Institute said in a statement on Wednesday.
The unemployment rate in the region was 10.9 percent in December, according Job Search International.
The Job Seek International report comes as Israel and its neighbors grapple with an economic downturn following the resumption of a long-running boycott of Israeli products.
The boycott, which is supported by several Western countries, was sparked by the country’s handling of the 2015 Gaza war, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and more than 1,400 Israelis.
Israel’s economic recovery, and the countrys ability to compete with Western countries in the global market, has led to job growth in the past few years, especially in the manufacturing sector, the country has said.
The country has also been expanding its tourism industry, hiring more workers for a second consecutive year.
The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world, the job center said.