Demand for workers in January was 4 percent up on December, according to a Manpower Israel survey, based on wanted ads in the press.

However, the growth was not uniform and sectors of the economy showed differing trends. The survey showed that demand for academic, professional and managerial positions grew by 16 percent in the month, and for marketing and sales by 10 percent. In contrast, demand for workers in the computer field dropped in January by 7 percent, for engineers by 4 percent and for manufacturing by 5 percent.

CEO Manpower Israel Dalia Narkiss said the trend of a slowing down in the rate of growth had been noticeably apparent in the last quarter of 2004 and the beginning of 2005, after the economy had shown significant increases in job demand in the first three quarters of last year.

In year-on-year comparison, though, Narkiss pointed out that overall, demand for jobs last month was 24 percent up on January 2004. This was all the more encouraging as in 2004, there had also been a significant rise on the previous year.

The survey also noted a dramatic fall of 60 percent in the demand for jobs in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals last month compared to 2004, which Narkiss attributed to the closure of InterPharm in Nes Tziona with the loss of 180 jobs.

Other year-on-year comparisons showed significant increased demand for workers in customer care, shop assistants, cooks, cleaning staff, cashiers, junior managers and office jobs.