Manufacturers Association predicts industrial field layoffs

17% of industry officials expect continued slow growth of jobs.

Carmel packing factory 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Carmel packing factory 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Manufacturers Association predicted on Monday that companies in the industrial sector would begin to lay off workers toward the end of 2011, as the effects of global economic troubles reach the Israeli economy.
Labor force expansion froze in July and August, as layoffs of workers in traditional fields like food production and textiles cancelled out growth in the rest of the industrial sector, according to the association.
It said recent data and industry polls indicated that there would be layoffs toward the end of 2011 at a rate similar to that seen in 2008, when many workers lost their jobs in the lead-up to the worldwide financial crisis.
A poll of industry officials showed that 19 percent of them expect layoffs to take place in the coming months, while, on the other hand, 17% say slow growth in terms of jobs will continue.
According to association statistics, there was an average increase of just 0.4% in the hiring of workers across the first three quarters of 2011. This means that employment levels in the industrial sector are still 2.2% lower than they were in the first quarter of 2008 – before layoffs began in that period.
In traditional industries, the labor force shrunk by 1% in July and August, with noticeable reductions in footwear (2.7%), food and drinks (1.6%) and textiles and clothing (1.1%). Around 870 workers were laid off by food manufacturers during that period, the association said.
In the mixed-traditional technology sector – which includes rubber, plastics and metals – jobs grew by just 0.2% over the two-month period.
Jobs in the mixed hi-tech sector grew by 0.7%, thanks mainly to chemicals and crude oil companies, while the hi-tech labor force grew by 0.6%.
Data showed that job vacancies across the industrial sectors dropped by 6%, or around 500 jobs overall, in the third quarter, compared with growth of around 8% in the second quarter of the year.