There will be 14 people vying for every available job by the end of this year, compared to only 4 people for each position during the economic boom in 2007 and 2008, as the rate of unemployment is expected to rise to 8 percent, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry reported Monday. "We are acting to stop the wave of unemployment and in parallel we are working towards increasing the availability of jobs in an effort to boost the economy," said Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister. Currently, 11 unemployed compete for every available position but as the wave of layoffs is expected to continue over the next months and employers are cutting their work force amid a deepening recession, the ministry estimated that by the end of this year, 14 people will be competing for every open position. Ben-Eliezer visited Jerusalem's unemployment office on Monday for the first time in his capacity as Industry, Trade and Labor Minister and vowed to put employment at the top of his agenda. According to estimates, compiled by the ministry's department of research and economics, Israel's unemployment rate is expected to rise to 8% by the first half of 2010. Since the start of the slowdown in the labor market, 60,000 jobs have lost their jobs as a result of the impact of global crisis on the local economy. Based on interviews with more than 2400 employers in Israel, the ministry's report also found that since the outbreak of the economic crisis in the second half of 2008, the demand for workers has dropped by 56%, with only 20,000 available jobs on average being advertised each day. The ministry added that the current level of demand for workers is similar to, or even lower, than the volumes during the last slowdown in the years of 2002 and 2003. On Sunday, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel had officially plunged into a recession with the country's economy contracting for the second consecutive quarter, showing the economy shrinking at a 3.6% annualized pace. Speaking at the Knesset Finance Committee on Monday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the gross domestic product figures released Sunday for the first quarter of 2009 were "worrying" and showed the "depth" of the crisis. Bloomberg contributed to this report.