Number of unemployed down 0.5 percent

Nearly 13,000 workers laid off in February.

 Nat'l Employment Service 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Nat'l Employment Service 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The number of unemployed in February dropped by 0.5 percent to 199,000 as the number of jobseekers continued to fall, the National Employment Service reported on Sunday.
“Analysis of the data points to a continued trend in the decline of unemployed during the month of February,” said Yossi Farhi, director of the NES.
“The average number of newly unemployed dropped to 11,300 over the past three months, down from 19,200 in the first quarter of 2009, at the peak of the economic crisis. The figure is indicative of layoffs, which is characteristic of a period of frictional unemployment.”
The number of unemployed in February fell by 0.5% to 199,600, from 200,600 in the previous month. The number of new jobseekers dropped by 1.7% to 17,800 compared with January.
In the months April 2009 to February this year, the number of new jobseekers dropped by a monthly average of 2.2% after rising by a monthly average of 3.4% in the period of February 2008 to March last year.
Last month 12,933 workers lost their jobs, out of whom 6,568 were men and 6,365 women, compared with 12,411 new layoffs in December last year.
As in previous months, the greatest number of newly unemployed, 5,129 people, were aged 25-34. Fewer older employees are being laid off; in February, 1,037 workers aged 55 and over lost their jobs, compared with 2,206 in January last year.  
Unemployment dropped to the lowest point in a year in the fourth quarter of 2009, as continued economic growth started to create jobs, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported at the beginning of the month.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, from a revised 7.7% in the third quarter, 7.9% in the second quarter, and 7.6% in the first quarter. 
The unemployment rate averaged 7.6% in 2009, compared with 6.1% in 2008, according to the CBS.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said recently that unemployment has dropped to 7.2% and would likely decline to pre-crisis levels of about 6.2% within a year or so.
Unemployment was highest in the south of the country and lowest in the Dan Region.
In February, the NES handled the application of 214,018 jobseekers,representing a decline of 3.2% from the 221,022 jobseekers duringDecember of last year. The number of jobseekers with university degreesdropped by 7.5% during the same period, while the number of jobseekerswithout degrees fell by 7.7%.
Furthermore, the NES pointed outthat the demand for workers was rising, and with 25,400 positionslisted with it in February, compared with 20,900 during the same monthlast year.