The work force participation rate of the evacuated population following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip two years ago has increased substantially over the past nine months but remains well below levels seen before disengagement, according to the latest survey carried out by the Research and Economics section of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. The rate of employment now stands at 57.3 percent, up from 45.3% nine months ago while some 20.5% are unemployed and 22.3% are not part of the labor force, the study said. "The current rate of employment is still 20.3 percentage points lower than the rate before disengagement, which stood at 77.6%," stated the survey, which was carried out during June-July this year among 1,360 households, of which more than 80% were married couples with children and two-thirds were orthodox and haredim. At the same time, average monthly salaries among the evacuated population have fallen NIS 711 from NIS 5,836 before the withdrawal to NIS 5,125. Among men, average monthly salaries were much higher at NIS 6,412 compared with the average monthly salaries of women at NIS 3,881. According to the survey, about 17% of the evacuated did not find work at all in the whole of the two years since the withdrawal, of which one-third said they got frustrated seeking for work; one-quarter said that they were engaged in studies (mainly religious studies); and the remainder were at a senior age or suffered from an illness. Assistance tools for seeking work mentioned by the survey participants consisted mainly of information on available and open positions, while about half of the unemployed said they needed direction and advisory services for finding the type of work that best-suited them and 40% said they needed better transportation services to the work place. In terms of their health condition, 80.1% of the evacuated that their health situation was good or very good, while 41% received treatment from a social worker, from a psychologist or from psychiatrist.