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Commerce Minister Sees First Signs of Upturn in Israel’s Economy

Zvi Sharef, the Israel Minister of Commerce and Industry, cautiously voiced his belief today that the turn had come in Israel’s protracted economic recession and that the economy was now moving onto the upgrade. The minister cited the fact that August was the first month since August 1966 in which Israel’s industries hired more new workers than they laid off.

Mr. Sharef noted that when he took office in December, the number of employed industrial workers was being reduced at the rate of 100 a day. Now, he said, labor shortages were beginning to be felt in industries requiring skilled hands like electronics, metals and garment-making. He said the main reasons for the upswing were increased purchases by the Defense Ministry, the replacement of imports by local products and increasing export of fashion goods.