12,000 businesses added in '05

Growth expected to continue in '06.

The number of businesses operating in Israel grew by 12,084 in 2005, as 47,900 businesses opened and 35,800 closed their doors, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. Last year's growth follows similar gains in 2004 when new businesses outnumbered closures by 13,032, and brought the total number of businesses in operation at the end of 2005 to 412,000. The data showed improvements both with an increase in the number of businesses opened and a decrease in those that closed during the year. Tehila Yanai, CEO of research group Business Data Israel (BDI), which compiles a monthly report on the number of businesses in risk of closure, said that given the market's performance in the first five months of the year, the upward trend of business activity is expected to continue through 2006. "As long as the geopolitical situation remains stable as it has been, more businesses will open than close," Yanai told The Jerusalem Post. She added that the trend shows improvements in businesses "payment morality," or how it relates to creditors, and in its risk analysis, two key indicators in BDI's research. "We also see a decrease in the unemployment rate in correlation with the rising number of businesses in the economy," she said. CBS said that of last year's net added enterprises, 7,984 employed wage earners, as opposed to 4,100 that did not have employees. A total 17,298 new businesses that provided employment opened, while 9,314 businesses with workers closed down.