Commerce and services rise in '05

Revenues rose 5.8% in educational services, 4.1% in healthcare, caregiving and welfare services, and 7.6% in personal and other services.

Revenues in the commerce and services sectors rose 7.4 percent in 2005, following a 7.9% rise in 2004 and a 0.6% drop in 2003, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday, citing analyses of VAT receipts. Retailers took in 5.7% more revenue in 2005 than in the year before, while wholesale commerce reported a 6.9% rise. Food and hospitality services registered 9.7% more revenue in 2005, while real estate and business services saw a 9.8% rise in revenues, following 11.8% growth the year before. Revenues rose 5.8% in educational services, 4.1% in healthcare, caregiving and welfare services, and 7.6% in personal and other services. In the last quarter of 2005, overall commerce and services revenues rose an annualized 8.4%, following a 9.7% rise in the third quarter, 8.4% rise in the second quarter and 8.2% rise in the first quarter. Separately, the CBS said sales in chain stores rose an annual 7.7% in the November to January period, citing trend data. Chain stores sales had risen 6.4% over the previous three months. Food sales in chain stores rose 1.8% in annual terms, following a 1.1% rise from August through October. The CBS also said Monday that manufacturing production grew 3.8% in 2005, following 6.6% growth in 2004 and a 0.3% drop in 2003. Factory revenues rose 4.3% in 2005, while industrial exports - constituting roughly 40% of industrial sector revenue - grew 6.6% in 2005 in comparison with 2004. Domestic industrial sales rose 3%. The number of industrial wage-earners rose 1.2% in 2005 - with the addition of 5,000 workers - while the number of actual hours worked also rose 1.2%. The cost of hour worked rose 2.5%. Trend data indicate a 7.7% rise in industrial production in the last quarter of 2005, following a 6.7% rise in the third quarter, 3.9% rise in the second quarter, and 1.6% rise in the first quarter. In other economic news, the Employment Service said demand for workers in January rose 22.2% to 22,096 requests from prospective employers from 18,075 requests one year before. Demand for unskilled workers had a slight lead, with 11,150 requests, against 10,946 requests for skilled workers.