Employment Stats Show Improvement

YERUSHALAYIM -

The gloom settling over the Israeli economy caused by reports of impending layoffs was dispelled somewhat on Thursday as fresh government data showed a drop in unemployment, Globes said.

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reports that the unemployment rate nationwide was 6.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 6.8 percent in the second quarter.

Participation in the labor force, which is low compared with the average in developed economies, rose slightly to 59.9 percent in the third quarter from 59.3 percent in the preceding quarter. The proportion of full-time employees rose to 77.1 percent of all employees in the third quarter, from 76.8 percent in the preceding quarter.

The Ministry of the Economy also released some encouraging statistics about the job market. The number of available jobs rose by 8.8 percent to a daily average of 70,600 positions in the third quarter, from 64,900 positions in the second quarter.

The increase was mostly in construction, financial services, communications, transportation, and education. The jobs balance — the ratio between hiring and departures — remained positive; more people were hired than left their jobs.

The Survey of Employers’ Expectations was similarly upbeat. For example, whereas most employers in the second quarter said they expected a downturn in their business, in the third quarter most employers were looking forward to stability, an outlook that applied to their expectations about their labor forces as well.

However, Globes cautioned, the figures refer to the third quarter, before recent reports about corporate streamlining plans, which are likely to cast their shadow in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in the first quarter of 2014.