Israeli Employment Service - David Bachar - 2010
The line outside an Israeli Employment Service branch in Tel Aviv, Jan. 24, 2012. Photo by David Bachar
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Job losses spiked to a 3-year high in July, as 16,084 Israelis lost their jobs.

The last time that many workers were dismissed was in July 2009, when 16,512 workers got the pink slip.

By way of comparison, 12,542 workers were let go in June, while in May, 13,951 Israelis found themselves newly out of work.

A total of 20,100 Israelis became jobless one way or another in July, bringing to 187,200 the number of people registered with the Israel Employment Service as unemployed. The numbers meant a 0.5% rise in unemployment from the previous month.

In June, 5.58% of the civilian workforce was unemployed, compared to 5.53% in January of this year. The average monthly rise in unemployment since November 2011 is 0.4%.

Representing more than 53% of those dismissed last month, 8,587 in all, women bore the brunt of the blow. The greatest increase in unemployment, 52% from June, was in the free professions and in technical fields. It should be noted, however, that this category includes teachers, some of whom are contract workers who are fired at the end of the school year and return to work at the start of the next.

But the number of manufacturing engineers and sales and service professionals who lost their jobs also rose significantly (30% and 29%, respectively ) over the previous month.

Demand for new employees as reflected in positions advertised by employers with the employment service fell to 23,400 in July, a 9.2% decline from June.

Alex Tenzer, a social activist, said the automatic dismissals of thousands of teachers, teachers' aides and security guards employed as subcontractors in the school system, and the effect this had on the jobless statistics, showed these people's need for economic justice.

Tenzer said these contract workers must be "hired immediately as regular employees in schools and preschools so that they will not be fired in the summer, and will be paid salaries throughout the year."