JERUSALEM (Nov. 15)
Israel’s unemployment rate fell significantly in the third quarter of the year, but there is no reason to celebrate, according to the experts.
Figures released Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicated an overall jobless rate of 8.9 percent in the period July through September, down from 10.2 percent in the previous quarter and 9.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.
David Magen, the minister of economics and planning, warned that the decline was temporary. He predicted no substantive change in the job picture for at least two years.
Employment service officials said the lower jobless rate reflected a trend to replace Arab workers from the administered territories with Israeli Jews.
Any job vacated by an Arab in Israel and filled by an Israeli causes a drop in the rate of unemployment in Israel proper, but creates a new unemployment problem in the territories which may be more explosive, the officials explained.
They also noted that the large masses of job-seeking immigrants arriving daily from the Soviet Union have not yet entered the job market.
Although the third-quarter unemployment figures were the first this year to dip below 9 percent, the jobless rate for women stood at 10.8 percent, down from 12.1 percent in the second quarter.
Among men, the decline was from 8.9 to 7.7 percent.
Another statistical decline announced Monday, though unrelated to the unemployment figures, could affect the number of jobs available.
Tourism continued to drop from virtually every country.
France headed the list with a 31 percent decline in the number of visitors in September. The United States was not far behind with a 29 percent decrease.
Only Norway held firm as a source of foreign visitors.
Meanwhile, environmentalists had cause for concern. Yosef Givol, head of Tel Aviv’s sanitation department, reported that the amount of garbage being generated in the Greater Tel Aviv region was rising at the rate of 4 percent a year.
The average Israeli disposes of 4.4 pounds of trash a day, Givol told an international seminar on environmental problems.
He said the garbage dump at Hiriya, a noxious landfill between Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport, has reached capacity and will have to be closed shortly.