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The number of jobless people rose in September by half a percent to 216,300, the Employment Service announced yesterday. The director general of the Employment Service, Yossi Farhi, said the September figures show a moderation in the growth of unemployment, even if the numbers are still rising. He attributes the change to the recovery from recession. Farhi may be optimistic, but 15,700 more people were fired in September, compared to 15,100 in August.

The steep rise in joblessness started in September 2008.

Of the newly unemployed in September, 55% were women, and the young were hit disproportionately hard, with 6,093 people in the 25-34 age range losing their jobs in September, 39% of all those fired.

About 40% of all job seekers live in development towns or in the Arab sector.

The number of job seekers who showed up at Employment Service offices around the country in September was 236,400, up from 229,700 in August - a 2.9% increase. The number of those without college degrees in this group rose by 3.6%.

These numbers include not only those receiving unemployment benefits but also others such as those on guaranteed income allowances who are required to report to the employment bureaus. These include jobless who have used up all of their unemployment benefits but still have not found work. The number of these jobless with no other source of income rose 3% in September, though the number with college degrees fell by 0.3%.

The towns with the highest unemployment rates in September were all Arab, and four of the six were in the Galilee: Umm al-Fahm, with a 31.6% jobless rate - 4.5 times the national average; Sakhnin (31%); Tamra (28.8%); Arabeh (26.4%); Taibeh (24.6%) and Shfaram (22.9%).