The industrial sector continued to lay off employees in the third quarter but at a slower pace. Also, first signs of a recovery in industrial production are appearing after output fell an accumulated 8.9 percent since the outbreak of the global economic crisis, the Manufacturers Association of Israel reported Thursday.
"The wave of layoffs in the industrial sector is continuing, as 2,625 workers lost their jobs in the third quarter of the year, half of whom were employed in the hi-tech sector," said Ruby Ginel, head of the association's economics division. "Following an accumulated decline of 8.9% in industrial output since the third quarter of last year, the downward trend in industrial production in the third quarter stabilized."
Industrial production in the third quarter had risen a moderate 0.2% compared with the previous quarter, he said. Industrial output in the traditional technology sector grew 2.2% in the third quarter, after an accumulated decline of 28% since the second quarter of last year. In the hi-tech sector, manufacturing production fell 0.7% in real terms in the third quarter, following a decline of 1.5% in the second quarter.
Industrial output in the second quarter declined 1.3% across all sectors but at a slower pace than the beginning of the year, when output decreased 4.3%. Since the third quarter of last year until the second quarter of this year, industrial output fell an accumulated 8.9%.
Since the wave of layoffs began at the outbreak of the global economic crisis in the second quarter of last year, 23,400 employees lost their jobs in the manufacturing sector, representing an accumulative decline of 6.4%. In the second quarter, 6,300 workers in the industrial sector lost their jobs. For the first three quarters, the average number of employees in the industrial sector was 4.8% lower than the average number in 2008.
"The decline was a result of layoffs across all sectors in the industry, out of which two-thirds were in the traditional technology sectors," the association said in its report.
In the third quarter, the number of workers in the industrial sector fell but at a slower rate of 0.8% compared with 1.8% in the second quarter and 2.5% in the first quarter.
Out of the 2,625 employees laid off in the third quarter, 1,330 were fired from within the hi-tech sector, including 580 in the electronic components sector and 360 in the electronic communications equipment sector.
Since the layoffs started in the fourth quarter of last year, 6,300 workers lost their jobs in the hi-tech sector. In addition, 415 employees were laid off in the rubber industry, 410 in the metal products sector, 360 in the the printing industry, 250 in the wood and furniture industry and 180 in the paper industry.
Against the trend, the food sector hired 185 employees in the third quarter. In the mixed hi-tech sector (chemicals, electric machines, equipment and engines), the number of workers rose by 0.4% as 195 employees were hired in the third quarter.