The year 2008 will be a good one for workers, it seems. Unemployment is expected to stay below 7 percent after having fallen to its lowest level in 11 years back in October - 6.9%. Israel's brisk economic growth created jobs, and employees will be better positioned to haggle over pay, analysts say.
As the economy expands and jobs are created, the state's GDP will grow, and the taxpayer's outlay on unemployment benefits will drop. Another aching problem, the number of people working less than full-time through no will of their own, will also be reduced, the analysts say.
One sector likely to hurt is technology, low and high. The International Monetary Fund pointed out in December that unemployment in Israel is falling to levels that create bottlenecks on the supply side, which could lead to shortages, and in turn, to rising pay levels. Good for employees, less so for the companies. The financial sector is also finding itself hard-pressed to find good help. Another side effect of declining unemployment is that demand for foreign workers may revive, even in high tech and in the healthcare segment. However, under the current regulations, the number of foreign workers in Israel must be less than 225,000 in 2008, compared with 230,000 in 2007 and 260,000 in 2003.
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