Unemployment continues to rise, primarily among academics, demobilized soldiers, new immigrants and development town residents. In the month of July, an additional 1.1% of job-seekers were added to the roster, bringing the number of job-seekers to a peak 145,600, excluding seasonal factors. The rate of growth is the highest seen since early 1994, and continues the rapid rise posted in the March-June period.
Employment Service figures, released today, indicate a significant worsening in unemployment. The rate of unemployed has already reached 7.7%, in trend terms, the highest since 1994. According to Ministry of Finance forecasts, the rate of unemployment will exceed 8% by the end of 1997.
The figures indicate that unemployment is sinking roots, particularly in development towns. The number of centers of unemployment (towns or cities where unemployment is over 10%) skyrocketed to 17 in July, from 13 in June, 9 in May, and 8 in April. This number is also the highest ever. This also marks the first time in two-and-a-half-years that unemployment has reached the larger cities of Acre and Dimona.
The most prominent centers of unemployment: Ofakim - 15.3%, Sderot - 13.5%, Ksifa - 13.3%, Yeruham - 12.3%, Kiryat Gat - 12.2%, Rahat - 12%, Kiryat Malachi - 11.9%, Mitzpe Ramon - 11.8%, Or Akiva - 11.8%, Netivot - 11.6%, Dimona - 11.3%, Kabul - 11.1%, Abu Rabia - 11.1%, Shlomi - 10.8%, Boania-Nujidath - 10.7%, Acre - 10.1% and Maalot Tarshiha - 10%.
Another 16,815 people have joined the ranks of the unemployed since the beginning of 1997, until July. This is a sharp 13% rise, excluding seasonal factors. Unemployment has risen 45.6% since April 1996, representing 45,565 people in a 15 month period. The additional rise in job seekers noted in July is due mainly to a continued wave of lay-offs, due to the economic slowdown. The number of newly unemployed persons jumped by 4,400 to a peak 17,400, or 33.8%. Newly laid-off persons represent 55.1% of the total number of job-seekers, compared with 53.1% in June and 49% in December. Most of those laid-off are academics, new immigrants or development town residents.