Industry lays off 6,300 workers in 2Q

Encouraging developments in the economy have not yet trickled down to the industrial sector, which laid off 6,300 workers in the April to June period, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Wednesday.
"Signs of an end to the economic crisis are not seen in the industrial sector," said Ruby Ginel, deputy head of the association's economics and regulation division. "The volume of industrial output is continuing to decline alongside labor cutbacks that started a year ago. In the months April to June, 6,300 employees working in the industrial sector lost their jobs."
Jobs lost in the April-June period included: 1,800 in the hi-tech sector; 1,150 in the metals sector; 610 in the plastics and rubber sector; 440 in the textile and clothing sector; 380 in the food and drink sector; 275 in the electricity sector; and 115 in the chemicals sector.
Ginel said the number of workers in the industrial sector had continued to fall at a rate of 1.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with a decline of 2.5% in the first quarter. Since the wave of layoffs began in the second quarter last year, 20,430 workers have lost their jobs in the industrial sector, he said.
The Bank of Israel on Tuesday raised its growth forecast for this year and next year, based on expectations of global growth and world trade and a return to positive growth in the local economy in the second quarter this year. However, the central bank said it expected a slow increase in unemployment in the second half of the year, bringing the average rate of unemployment to 8.1% in 2009 and 8.3% in 2010.
"This is in line with the known lag that generally characterizes labor-market developments," the Bank of Israel said.
Industrial output in April-June continued to decline by 1.3% across all sectors, albeit at a slower pace than in the beginning of the year, during which output decreased by 4.3%. Since the third quarter of last year until the second quarter of this year, industrial output fell by an accumulated 9%.
Ginel said overall output figures had been lifted by a sharp increase in electronic components, which rose 39%, mainly due to the production start of the new Intel plant in Kiryat Gat.