Peak 145,600 Job Seekers in July

Unemployment rates have already reached 7.7%. The number of unemployment hubs rose to 17 from 13.

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.

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