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Some 14 job seekers are expected to compete for every vacant position in the labor market by the end of 2009, according to an Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry report released on Monday.

Unemployment rates are expected to hit around 8 percent (250,000 people) by the middle of 2010, the study predicts.

The figure of 14 people competing for each job vacancy marks a sharp rise from the four-for-one figure noted when economic growth hit its peak in 2007 and 2008.

The report, which examines development of the labor market, was submitted to Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) in advance of his official visit to the Unmployment Bureau in Jerusalem.

According to the report, an additional 60,000 Israelis have been laid off from their jobs as a result of the impact of the global financial crisis on the Israeli economy.