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Economy in Brief

Employment Grows in Israel; Wages Rise, but Lose Ground to Inflation
by Carol Stone April 6, 2006

The number of jobs in Israel increased 5,000 in January from December, seasonally adjusted, to 2.59 million, according to data reported today by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The gain from a year ago was 79,000 jobs, or 2.9%. The CBS also publishes a subset of the jobs data that excludes foreign workers, mostly Palestinians. There were 82,000 of them in January, up from 70,000 a year ago. So the number of jobs covered by Israeli workers was 2.508 million, up just 1,000 from December and 2.7% from January 2005. Both the total number of jobs and those held by Israelis increased by 3.3% for 2005 as a whole.

The average job paid NIS7,232 for the month of January, about US$1,565. For jobs held by Israelis only, the comparable figure was NIS7,614, about US$1,648. In shekels, both total and Israeli wages were up 1.6% from a year ago. Taking account of inflation, "real" wages have fallen 1.3% for all workers and 1.0% for Israeli workers since January 2005.

While real purchasing power per job in Israel has stagnated over the last few years, the number of jobs themselves has advanced nicely. As we point out frequently here, employment in Europe is nearly at a standstill, and in the US, prior to the release tomorrow of March data, recent trends show roughly 1.5% gains in nonfarm payrolls, only about half the pace in Israel. So midst all the Middle East tension, the Israeli economy is presently able to increase jobs and overall growth as well. In industry data through Q4 2005, accommodation, trade and business services were seeing the greatest percentage job gains.

  Jan 2006 Dec 2005 Year Ago 2005 2004 2003
Total Number of Jobs (thous.) 2,590 2,585 2,511 2,548 2,466 2,425
Yr/Yr % Change 2.9 3.0 -- 3.3 2.2 -0.7
Jobs ex Foreign Workers (thous.) 2,508 2,507 2,441 2,472 2,393 2,342
Yr/Yr % Change 2.7 2.9 -- 3.3 2.8 -0.1
Average Wages, All Jobs (NIS) 7,232 7,208 7,138 7,225 7,000 6,863
Yr/Yr % Change 1.6 -1.4 -- 3.3 2.1 -2.3
Average Wages, ex Foreign Workers (NIS) 7,614 7,636 7,481 7,334 7,081 6,981
Yr/Yr % Change 1.6 -1.2 -- 3.1 2.2 -2.5
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