A Few More Encouraging Economic Statistics - but Not All

Revenues from commerce and services rose 4% on an annualized basis during April-June, after falling by 5.5% in the first quarter, according to encouraging data from the Central Bureau of Statistics on the state of the Israeli economy. The most dramatic increase in revenues was seen in community and personal services, the bureau reports.

On an annualized basis, revenues from wholesale commerce remained unchanged in the second quarter, after plunging by 8.7% in the first three months of the year. Real estate activity, including rental and business services, saw revenues rise 8% in the second quarter, after diving 5.5% in the first three months of 2009.

A different CBS report also indicates that manufacturing production has more or less leveled out, edging downward just 0.3% in the second quarter, after plummeting 11.4% on an annualized basis in January-March of this year, and by 2%, if one leaves out the high-tech industry. During this period, the industrial sector lost 5.8% of its jobs, and cut back 4.8% of its actual work hours.

Last week the Central Bureau of Statistics reported economic growth of 1% in the second quarter, following two consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

The Israel Federation of Chambers of Commerce says 25% of companies in the commercial and services sector are planning to fire workers before the end of 2009, despite the signs of an economic recovery in the second quarter.

A Chambers of Commerce survey reported 43% of firms expect lower sales for the year, and of these, two-thirds expect the drop to be more than 10%.

However, this still reflects a slight improvement over previous, even gloomier forecasts.