Some 40 percent of young couples in the north are eager to leave the region, largely because of the difficult economic situation there, a convention of northern mayors was told last week. The convention heard that numerous small businesses - the backbone of the northern economy - had been hit hard by the current recession, and that many had been forced to close down, reports www.local.co.il. According to the report, the convention took place in Hatzor Haglilit and was attended by local authority heads and business and social representatives. The Jewish Agency's Zafona company presented findings of a survey it conducted showing that 40% of couples aged 21 to 35 wanted to leave the region. The convention was also told that 90 percent of local authorities in the Galilee area were to be found in the bottom half of Israel's socio-economic index, while the opposite was the case in the central region.