The number of available jobs rose 44 percent on average in the first three quarters of the year compared with 2009, while the volume of layoffs declined, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry reported Tuesday.“The situation in the employment market in 2010 has improved significantly compared with the previous year across all parameters,” Benny Pfefferman, head of the ministry’s economics and research division said in the report. “The improvement was encouraged by an increase in the number of available jobs and the employment balance, which turned positive over the course of 2010. In practice it shows that employment during the year continued to grow, although the pace of growth slowed down.”There were an average of 54,100 available jobs on a daily basis in the first three quarters, up from 37,500 in 2009. But despite the steep growth in the number of available jobs, it was lower than the 80,000 available jobs on a daily basis in 2006 through 2008, the report said.The employment balance (new hiring minus layoffs) changed from a negative 1.2 a month in 2009 (more layoffs than hirings) to a positive balance of 9,200 a month in 2010 (more hirings than layoffs). There was an average of 25,600 monthly layoffs in 2010, down 14% from 29,900 in 2009. As a result of the surge in available positions and the decline in layoffs, the number of unemployed workers competing for every job narrowed to an average of 3.7 in 2010 from 6.1 last year, the report said.“The world economy has gone through a difficult time over the past two years, and the light at the end of the tunnel cannot be seen yet,” Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said in the report. “The US economy is still struggling, and there is uncertainty regarding the trend in the European economy.“Although economic indicators show that we seem to have emerged out of the global crisis in better shape than most countries around the world, there is no doubt that the prevalent uncertainty will have an impact on the Israeli economy.”Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Tuesday praised the flexibility of the local labor market, saying it managed to switch to part-time work during the height of the global economic crisis, thereby averting more waves of layoffs while curbing the pace of unemployment.“Israel’s economy entered the crisis with an unemployment rate of 5.7%, its lowest level for 15 years,” he told the Knesset Finance Committee.“Despite forecasts that unemployment would climb to above 9%, it increased relatively slowly and reached only about 8%, and then it declined again to its current level of 6.2%.”“The flexibility of Israel’s labor market enabled the number of hours worked per employee to be cut and the number of dismissals to be reduced, and hence prevented a steeper increase in unemployment,” Fischer said.Unemployment in the main advanced economies was still high, at about 10% or more, he said.