Employer demand for workers in Israel is expected to grow at a higher rate than the average European country despite an expected slowing in the overall growth rate in 2006, recruitment agency Manpower Israel said Tuesday, "Israel is in a good position in our forecast for workers' demand compared to Europe which finds itself in a bad situation," said Dalia Narkis, CEO of Manpower Israel. "Most European countries have a growth rate of between 0 and 2 percent which, even taking into account England with its growth of over 3%, is nowhere near our expectations [for Israel] for the coming year." The number of requests made in Israel grew by 8% this year over 2004 and a spokesperson for Manpower said the outlook for 2006 is for growth of just under 5%. The best prospects in the new year are in hi-tech, services and sales, Manpower Israel said. A survey of employer outlooks for the first quarter by the firm's international parent company Manpower Inc., which included 23 countries but not Israel, showed that most of the lower outlooks were from European employers. "First-quarter hiring across the European labor markets is typically soft, but this year appears more pervasive," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. The quarterly survey, which gathered data from 45,000 employers, showed that the strongest prospects for employment in the first quarter were in India, New Zealand, Taiwan, the US, and Australia.