For all the sloganeering, hi-tech isn't the main engine driving the growth of Israeli exports any more, based on fresh figures from the Manufacturers Association of Israel. Hi-tech's share of growth in exports has plunged to just 25 percent in the Jewish year of 5767 (ending this week) compared with 80 percent in the preceding three Jewish calendar years, the association said yesterday.
A drop in drug and defense exports seems to be the culprit in the retreat of hi-tech's contribution to export growth. That said, total industrial exports, which include hi-tech, grew by 12 percent to $31.8 billion in 5767.
"The drop in the share that hi-tech plays in export growth is worrying," stated Dafna Aviram Nitzan, MAI research department manager. Hi-tech exports comprise 48 percent of Israel's total industrial exports, she said.
Productivity data for hi-tech is no comfort either. Ruby Ginel, director of the MAI's economics division, says that productivity has slumped by 2 percent in the Jewish year ending this week, which has dragged down growth of the entire sector. Industrial sales to the domestic market and to export in 5767 totaled $73.5 billion, the association says. In a good sign, the total workforce in industry increased by 4 percent in the last year, adding 14,000 jobs.
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