The number of unemployed declined in October by a preliminary 0.3 percent after rising steadily at an average monthly rate of 1.6% from May 2008 to this June, the Employment Service reported Monday. "The October figures point to a decline in the number of job seekers, laid-off workers and unemployed," Employment Service director Yossi Farhi said Monday. "Although we are seeing a drop of a monthly average of 0.3% over the last three months, it is still too early to determine whether this marks a turnaround in the unemployment situation. Great caution should be exercised in analyzing the trend figures. We have to wait for the November and December figures." During October, 221,600 job seekers were registered at the Employment Service, down from 226,500 in September and 186,700 in October 2008. Seasonally adjusted figures excluding holidays showed that the number of job seekers in October fell 3.7% to 224,700, from 233,500 in September. Some 13,240 workers were laid off in October, compared with 15,716 in September, out of which 49.8% were women and 50.2% were men. The greatest number of newly unemployed were ages 25 to 34. There were little signs of improvement in the number of long-term unemployed. Out of the total number of job seekers in October, 76,640, or 34.6%, were registered as unemployed for more than 270 days over the last 12 months, compared with 75,480, or 33.3%, in September. Requests for workers in October fell 2.6% to 23,390, from 24,015 in September, but up 55% from 15,095 in October 2008. The greatest demand was for skilled workers in the industrial and construction sectors, followed by sales and services personnel, technicians and clerical staff. The national unemployment rate was 6.9% in October, compared with 7% in September. The highest unemployment rate was in the South, at 11.3%, followed by the North, at 10.5%. The lowest unemployment rates were in Jerusalem and the Dan region, at 4.1% and 4% respectively. The unemployment rate was 6.5% the center of the country.