Statistics Bureau Plays Down Cutting 2001 Growth Figures

Moti Bassok
Moti Bassok
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Moti Bassok
Moti Bassok

Growth in 2001 was not -0.6 percent as published in the beginning of 2002, but -0.9 percent, and growth in 2000 was not 6.4 percent but 7.4 percent, according to data that was posted yesterday on the web site of the Central Bureau of Statistics.

At the end of every year, not all the data for that period is available. The Bureau makes an estimate of the missing statistics and later revises the results from the actual data. This is not the first time the Bureau has updated previously published data. In policy making, the government often takes into account statistics released by the Bureau.

The Bureau also revised growth data for 2001. It was originally published that the business sector grew by 1.9 percent, while the new figure is 2.4 percent. Also, the GDP per capita fell 3.2 percent, not 2.9 percent as first said.

The web site also indicates that in the second quarter of 2002, 265,000 people were unemployed - 10.3 percent of the work force, compared to 10.6 percent in the first quarter of the year.

In the second quarter of the year, 60 percent of the men worked and 48.1 percent of the women, compared to 60.6 and 48.5 percent respectively in the previous quarter.

While in the first quarter of the year 28 percent of the job seekers had to wait more than six months to find a job, in the second quarter the figure rose to 34 percent. In the second quarter of 2002 55.5 percent (545,000 people of the immigrants who moved to Israel since 1990 were employed, compared to only 53.1 percent of the population of veteran Israelis.

While the number of people in the work force remained steady, the distribution by sector changed dramatically. In the second quarter of the year the number of construction workers grew by 3.8 percent (4,500 workers) and the number of workers in business services grew by 2 percent (5,300 workers).

About two thirds of the growth in the business services sector is attributed to a jump in the number of security guards and maintenance workers. The number of industry workers fell by 1.4 percent (5,200 workers) and the number of restaurant and hotel workers fell by 3.2 percent (3,000 workers). The average number of weekly hours fell in the second quarter of 2002 by 0.5 percent, to 36.8 hours.

The state-of-the-economy index went up 0.2 percent in July, following an 0.2 percent rise in June and an 0.3 percent climb in May. The index is now at the same level as in the end of December 2001. According to the Bank of Israel, the rises in the last three months reflect a stabilization in market activity. The index combines four specific indexes - imports, industrial output, trade and services revenues, and the number of salaried employees in the business sector.

Industrial production only went up marginally in the first six months of the year, 1 percent in annual terms, compared to the second half of 2001. Compared to the corresponding period in 2001, production fell 4.5 percent. The second quarter in 2002 grew 4.5 percent compared to the first quarter. Production in the hi-tech industry (electronics and pharmaceuticals), however, jumped 9 percent.

The starting point for 2002 was low, since in 2001 production fell 5.5 percent. In the second quarter of 2002, the number of salaried employees in the industrial sector dropped 2.5 percent, after already falling 2.8 percent in 2001.

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