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Encouraging news for the economy emerged Wednesday as the National Insurance Institute reported a five percent drop in the number of jobless Israelis seeking unemployment stipends in June and July.

The NII said there were 17,500 requests for unemployment benefits in both months, a drop from the 18,600 applications submitted in May.

There was also a 2.2 percent decrease in the number of stipend recipients who continued to file requests for benefits - 74,500 submissions in June and July compared to 76,200 in May.

"The drop in the number of demands for unemployment benefits dovetails with the easing of the economic crisis as shown in economic indices," said Esther Dominissini, the NII's director-general.

Dominissini added that the statistics are testament to a "diminishing in the large wave of layoffs which began in the last quarter of 2008."