NDS fires 100 Jerusalem employees; Tower lays off 200

Motorola Israel fires 50 employees due to economic climate; some 35,000 layoffs predicted in hi-tech sector.

The company NDS, which deals in digital television services, on Sunday fired some 100 of 1,100 employees from their offices in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem. The move followed an announcement a few months ago that it would not be hiring new employees. Also Sunday, chip manufacturer Tower Semiconductor from Migdal Ha'Emek fired 200 employees. The company had already fired 150 workers in May. Also Sunday, Motorola Israel decided to layoff some 50 employees, due to the economic climate, at the state of the Motorola company worldwide. Last week, the hi-tech sector layoffs were predicted in a survey by the Israel Association of Electronics and Software Industries. Some 35,000 layoffs were predicted in the hi-tech sector, as 73% of local hi-tech companies plan to cut 10% to 15% of their staff. The survey was conducted among 46 hi-tech companies, of which 62% had at least 100 employees and annual sales of $50 million. It showed that most were suffering from credit problems with the banks. If the global economic and financial situation continues, the surveyed companies said they would expect a decline in sales of 11% on average, or $3 billion, in 2009. "Based on the findings of the survey, we expect 7,000 people to be laid off directly from hi-tech companies and 28,000 from companies that provide services to the sector," IAESI chairman Yehuda Zispel had said. "This situation will make it difficult for the 8,000 students who graduate each year from academic institutions related to the hi-tech industry to find work. As a result, we could see more of the brain drain and a fall in the number of students in academia studying engineering, mathematics and computer sciences." In recent years, the hi-tech industry has grown fairly healthily by an estimated 10%-15% year-on-year, and similar growth was expected in 2008, he said. "However, following the exceptional sharp appreciation of the shekel, we expect to end 2008 with a 10%-15% drop in shekel-denominated revenues," Zispel said.