The average monthly wage of industrial workers in Israel rose approximately 4 percent in 2007 and now stands at NIS 10,800 - some 40% higher than the national average salary - but the rate at which salaries are rising is slowing down, the Manufacturers Association of Israel reported on Tuesday. Over the year, the highest wage earners were those in the communications equipment manufacturing sector, earning an average of NIS 19,610 a month, while shoemakers took home the lowest monthly salary among manufacturing workers, earning only NIS 5,666. Over the third quarter of 2007, wages manufacturing wages increased just 2.5% above numbers from the same time period in 2006, said Roby Ginel, director of the economic branch of the Association. The first two quarters of 2007 and the last quarter of 2006 posted average wage increases of 4.5%, he noted. "There are a few different factors that caused the slowdown in the increase in wages over the last quarter," Ginel said. "Among the primary factors was the 1% rise in inflation over the third quarter above 2006 third quarter numbers. The other quarters had negative inflation growth. Also, the minimum wage increased less in the third quarter than in the previous three quarters and there was a significant drop-off in manufacturing output in the third quarter." Over the third quarter of 2007, manufacturing output increased only 2%, while in the previous three quarters it jumped an average of 9.5% per quarter, the Association's report said. Finally, said Ginel, worker productivity fell 2.5% in the third quarter after rising an average of 4% over the previous three quarters. The report also noted that during the third quarter, salaries of hi-tech workers rose 3.1% to NIS 16,754, while salaries of mid-tech workers jumped 4.5% to NIS 12,505. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly wage in Israel as of September was NIS 7,789.