The number of job seekers grew by 1.7 percent in seasonally adjusted terms to 206,600 in July from 203,100 in June, according to results of a survey from the Israel Employment Services (IES) released Sunday. "From the beginning of 2007, the number of job seekers increased by a monthly average of 0.2%, while in 2006, the rate of job seekers declined by 0.6% on a monthly average," the IES said in its report. "It is still too early to say whether this is a change of trend, only the analysis of the next few months will be able to tell." Without adjusting for the seasonal effects of the month, the IES had 204,500 job seekers registered in July, compared to 197,900 in the previous month and 219,800 during July last year. The IES said that one of the reasons for the increase in the number of job seekers in July was the fact that in recent months more people want to join the job market such as Haredi women and adults over age 45. As such, 1,500 old-age jobseekers, who previously were exempt from the employment exam, registered with the IES in July. Since the beginning of the year until July, the rate of adult job seekers over the age of 45 grew to 96,000, which represented 47.1% of all jobseekers, compared with 44.5% of the jobseekers in 2006 and 43% in 2005. At the same time, the number of job seekers, who were registered as unemployed for more than 270 days over the last 12 months, declined from 41.1% in June to 39.6% in July 2007. According to the survey, which polled thousands of companies and small businesses across the country, the number of university-educated job seekers, excluding income guarantee claimants, grew a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in July from June, and the number of claimants rose 2.1%. The level of non-academic, non-claimant job seekers grew 0.2%. Separately, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, found that the employment rate among immigrants from Ethiopia was significantly lower at 58.3% compared with 68% among the rest of the Jewish population. Furthermore, the average monthly salary among Ethiopian immigrants was also significantly lower by about NIS 1,800 compared with the rest of the population. To improve this situation, the ministry's committee for integrating young people into the work force recommended the activation of three programs for the employment of young people until the age of 35 of Ethiopian origin. The three programs include employment assistance for young people upon completion of military or national service and for students in their final year of study and academics. The committee recommended applying the programs during a period of three-to-five years at a total cost of NIS 77 million.