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Unemployment Increases in Israel

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The number of unemployed in Israel increased by about 1,400 between July and August but the main problem is not joblessness but difficulty matching workers to the kind of jobs they want, according to Baruch Haklai, director of the government employment service.

“We find it very difficult to convince people to work in such branches as construction, metallurgics, agriculture and automobile mechanics,” Haklai said at a press conference here yesterday. He said that 2,907 job offers were not filled last month compared to 1,500 in July. About 3,286 workers rejected job offers in August compared to 2,907 rejections in July.

But the number of people demanding jobs rose to 38,688 in August from 37,750 in July. The number of unemployed increased from 13,376 in July to 14,787 last month, Haklai reported.

He did not expect sudden mass unemployment but predicted a gradual rise in job lessness to about 20,000 by the end of this year, double the number out of work at the start of the year.

JOB OFFERS, BUT NO TAKERS

Haklai said that his service is unable to fill some 6,000 job offers a month despite rising unemployment. He said that half the jobs offered are filled by Arab workers from the occupied territories. About 80,000 Arabs from the territories presently work in Israel, of whom 50,000 got their jobs through the employment service and the rest through unofficial channels.

Haklai hinted there would be a crackdown on unorganized labor in the wake of rising unemployment but said his service would not try to throw any workers out of their jobs. He said unemployment was most serious in the development towns where about 13 percent of the population lives. According to Haklai, that sector accounts for 42.8 percent of the unemployed but it is where many young men refuse jobs in construction and agriculture.

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