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Demand for workers in the country grew by 2.3 percent in 2006 over 2005. The steepest rise was seen in the construction industry, according to a survey conducted by temp agency Manpower-Israel.

The survey, based on newspaper want ads, reveals that demand rose slower than in previous years, down from 8.5 percent growth in 2005.

Manpower-Israel CEO Orna Segel said the slowdown in the pace of growth stems from the war in Lebanon during the summer. The war caused a slowdown in business activity nationwide, but in the North in particular.

However, she noted, demand picked up in the fourth quarter. Demand in the service industry only grew by 0.8 percent, while demand for construction workers shot up 35.1 percent. Commercial branches actually experienced a drop of 5.2 percent, and demand also declined for household help (14.4 percent) and community service workers (10.1 percent).