Israel’s High Unemployment Rate Drops for Fourth Month in a Row

Israel’s relatively high unemployment rate dropped by 9 percent in May, with 122,300 job-seekers registered at the national Employment Service, compared to 134,200 in April.

The figures were disclosed here Sunday by Labor and Social Affairs Minister Ora Namir.

With evident satisfaction, Namir noted that she took office in January promising that the job market would be her concern.

She said the results speak for themselves: The decline in job-seekers has held steady for the last four months in a row.

The drop stands in sharp contrast to the situation over a year ago, when from February 1991 to August 1992, the number of job-seekers rose from 121,800 to a record 153,000. From then, until the end of 1992, the number grew at a slower rate.

Namir attributed the turnaround to three factors: the continuing ban against allowing Palestinian workers from the territories to enter Israel proper; her creation of immediate jobs and other programs; and a toughened stance on the part of the Employment Service in regard to jobseekers.

Namir said the “immediate job program” had a ceiling of 3,500 jobs imposed by the Treasury, 3,300 provided by the Jewish National Fund and 200 by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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