Daily Israel Report

New Record in Monthly Layoffs: Over 19,700

The world financial crisis has hit Israel in record numbers: Nearly 20,000 people were laid off in January, higher than any month in history.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 2/17/2009, 10:53 AM

The financial crisis around the world has hit Israel in record numbers: Nearly 20,000 people were laid off in January, higher than any month in history.

Before the financial crisis that began several months ago, the average number of layoffs in Israel stood around 10,000, with more people finding work per month than were laid off.  The trend now is the opposite.

The January high was reached after the previous month also registered a national record – 17,499 layoffs. 

The National Employment Service reports that the number of those seeking work – 218,500 - climbed 3.8% from December to January, and is 15% more than the previous January. 

David Tzarfati, head of the Employment Service’s Research Branch, says that more than 260,000 people are expected to be seeking work by the end of 2009.  He says his numbers are based on Bank of Israel’s estimates of economic growth rates and on trends noted by the Service.

Some 27,600 job-seekers registered with the Employment Service in January, compared with 24,400 in December.  This number includes a sharp 9.9% jump among academics.

Employment Service Director Yossi Parchi has asked the government to bring the issue up for immediate discussion and to provide operative tools to enable the Service to meet the growing unemployment needs.

Bank of Israel’s announcement on Monday that it would intervene in government bonds has strengthened the dollar, which is now up 1.6% to 4.14 shekels.  The Euro has strengthened more moderately, up 0.9% to 5.24 shekels.