As the economy continues to slip further into a recession, Israelis are reaping the consequences, with unemployment rising for the fourth consecutive month to 6.8 percent in January 2009, the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday. The news followed a similarly pessimistic statistic released by the National Employment Service on Tuesday, which showed that demand for workers dropped 8 percent during the first two months of the year compared with average figures for 2008. During February, demand for workers fell 3.7%, to 20,900, compared with 21,600 during the same month last year. Compared to this January, which was impacted by the fighting in the South and a worsening economic climate, demand for workers rose 3.7%. Demand for workers dropped 12.1% during January year-on-year to 20,100 from 22,900. Meanwhile, the employment index compiled by the ORS human resources company found that demand for workers dropped 9.2% in February compared with the previous month and by 19% compared with the same month last year. The NES said the average monthly demand for workers during January and February was 20,500, a decline of 8% compared with average monthly demand for workers during last year. In 2008, monthly averages showed that demand for workers was fairly stable, in part because of the NES's work with employers. Demand for workers averaged 22,300 per month last year compared with a year earlier. In February, almost half the demand for workers, or 47.7%, was for unskilled jobs. General manufacturing workers were the most in demand, followed by security personnel and sales and telemarketing staff. The lowest demand for workers was for office clerks, followed by cooks, cashiers and waiters. A regional analysis of the February figures showed that demand for workers rose the most in Jerusalem, up 39% from January and 11% lower compared with the same month a year earlier. In the coastal plain, including Tel Aviv, demand for workers was down 4.8% in February compared with January and 0.5% lower than in December. In the South, demand for workers in February was 35.7% higher than in January but down 2.4% compared with February last year. The North suffered the biggest plunge in the demand for workers in February, down 27.5% compared with January and 11.6% lower on a year-on-year basis. Cities with the highest demand for workers in January were Jerusalem with 2,541 requests, Tel Aviv with 1,973 and Haifa with 1,036. Cities with the lowest demand for workers were Beersheba with 933 requests, Rishon Lezion with 695 and Ashdod with 609. The NES figures are not seasonally adjusted and do not take into account holidays and the number of workdays during the month. Jpost staff contributed to this report.