The Bank of Israel's Composite State of the Economy Index for April 2020 declined by 0.33 percent, following a decrease in March. The coronavirus crisis became markedly more severe in March, and from the middle of that month, a considerable part of economic activity was shut down. The decline of the Index in two consecutive months reflects the sharp decline in economic activity, but in view of the uniqueness of the crisis, the magnitude of the decline in the Index does not provide conclusions regarding the precise strength of the decline in activity in the past two months. The decline in the Index reflects a sharp decline in most of the components, primarily a decrease in consumer goods imports in April, and a sharp decline in services revenue and in industrial production in March. Goods exports, which declined relatively moderately compared to the other indicators, and imports of manufacturing inputs, which increased, moderated the strength of the decline in the Index.

The Composite Index for March was revised downward due to the publication of first quarter National Accounts data and based on the accumulation of indicators showing the magnitude of the decrease in activity (Table 1). Table 2 presents the development of components of the Index in the past few months.

Table 1: Revisions in the Composite Index


Previous data

New data

April 2020



March 2020



February 2020



January 2020





Table 2: Changes in the Index components in recent months*

(monthly percent change, unless otherwise noted)




March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

Industrial Production Index

(excluding mining and quarrying)1





Services Revenue Index

(excluding education and public administration)1





Retail Trade Revenue Index1





Imports of consumer goods2





Imports of manufacturing inputs

(excluding fuels)





Goods exports (excluding agriculture) 2





Services exports (excluding transportation) 3





Number of employee posts in the private sector





Job vacancy rate in the business sector4





Building starts5






*As the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has not calculated seasonally adjusted series for some of the variables, there could be a lack of alignment between some of the data appearing in the Composite State of the Economy Index tables and the data in CBS publications.

1 As the CBS did not seasonally adjust in March, industrial production data and revenue data for March were calculated based on a seasonality factor forecast for that month, and the series were not adjusted retroactively.

2 Goods imports and exports are calculated in fixed prices (adjusted for changes in foreign trade price indices).

3 Services exports are calculated in real terms (using the Consumer Price Index).

4 The job vacancy rate is calculated out of the total number of employed people and is included in the index at its level. As the CBS did not seasonally adjust in March or April, the data for those months are not seasonally adjusted.

5 Since the Central Bureau of Statistics publishes data on building starts once per quarter, the data integrated into the model are at a monthly frequency based on additional sources, such that the distribution is consistent with the quarterly data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (in percent, seasonally adjusted). The latest figure published is for the fourth quarter of 2019, which pointed to an increase of 2.6 percent.

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