Text size

Unemployment rose again in April, but the figures showed a sliver of hope as the rate of increase eased off somewhat, said the Employment Service yesterday.

There were 2.1% more jobseekers in April than in March, after adjustments for seasonal changes, for a total of 235,600. This was an increase of 6,900.

The figures do show a slackening of the pace, however: April's 2.1% increase compares with 2.6% in March, and 2.9% in February. The numbers were even higher in the second half of 2008, with a monthly average of 4.5% from August to December.

Despite the large number of holidays in April, 13,060 people were still fired. The Employment Service received 16,500 new requests for employees that month, compared to 24,200 in March. It managed to place only 8,300 people in new jobs in April. Most of the requests for workers were for unskilled positions. But, it is still much too early to conclude whether unemployment trends are changing, said Yossi Farhi, Employment Service director. The number of jobless is rising steadily, and is up 23.3% over the past 12 months.

In addition, 33.8% of the jobless have been out of work for more than 270 days in the past year. Farhi called them the "hard-core unemployed, many of whom are older and find it hard to return to the workforce even after they have taken professional training courses." More than 40% of the unemployed live in Arab and development towns.