New IES data shows unemployment hike halted

Number of job seekers actually drops by 2.1%; Ben Eliezer circumspect over Employment Service data.

ben eliezer at post 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ben eliezer at post 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel Employment Service data published Wednesday reveal that in July, there was no rise in the number of people registered as unemployed compared to the previous month, marking the first time since May 2008 that unemployment has remained stable. In July, 210,410 people were registered as unemployed, compared to 210,470 in June. The number of job seekers actually dropped by 2.1 percent (4,900 people) and stands at 236,400. However, the number of job seekers was still at the highest level in three years, with 40% of jobless being residents of Arab communities and developing cities - a high percentage of the general population in those places. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer was not enthusiastic about the new data. "I am certainly pleased to hear about the data according to which the rise in unemployment has been staved off for the first time since the financial crisis began. However… we must examine this data over time and must remember that it's our duty to bring those 210,000 unemployed back into the market," he said. "The news of [Israel] emerging from the crisis in the second quarter [of 2009] is also exaggerated and we must use all means at our disposal in order to encourage growth, help small and medium sized businesses, factories and industry, as well as exporters."