Unemployment on the Decline as Demand for New Workers Rises

Unemployment figures declined 0.4% last month, according to Employment Service figures that point to a positive trend in the labor market since July. Simultaneously, demand for new workers has increased.

State employment bureaus received 26,100 requests for workers in November, a record for this year, up 23,400 from October. The largest demand through state employment agencies was for general industry workers, followed by sales personnel (including telemarketing) and security guards.

Joseph Farhi, who heads the state employment service, said that after an uninterrupted rise in unemployment of 25% in total, from 168,900 in April 2008 to 211,200 in June 2009, the worsening trend had halted in July.

"The number of unemployed persons in Israel has been on the decline since July, at an average rate of 0.5%, from 211,200 in June of this year to 206,000 in November - a total decline of 2.5%," said Farhi.

In November there were 206,000 persons unemployed in Israel compared to 206,800 in October. November saw total of 222,400 applicants at state employment agencies, 850 more than the previous month, when the agencies handled 221,600 job seekers. Nevertheless, adjustment of the figures to seasonal effects on the labor market shows that the number of job applicants actually declined by 1%, from 233,700 in October to 221,500 in November.

The Israeli job market saw 14,236 layoffs in November compared to 13,240 in October. The largest subgroup of newly unemployed were workers aged 25-35.

The most layoffs occurred in 2009 during the month of March, when 19,939 workers were pink-slipped. The central coastal plain area has seen the steepest decline in the number of layoffs (35%), while layoffs in the southern region have been the slowest to taper off, by 12%.