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Record demand for workers in second quarter

July 25, 2007. Haaretz: Ido Solomon
A Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor survey of employers shows that demand for workers in the second quarter of 2007 is up 17.3 percent since last quarter, 39.3 percent more than the same period in 2006. The survey was conducted by the ministry's planning and research department, which monitors a representative sampling of 2,400 employers in Israel. The results indicate that a daily average of 59,400 jobs were vacant during this period, not including construction or agriculture.

Employment demand in the business sector, measured both in terms of the number of vacant positions and the rate of vacancies compared with the sector's total capacity, continued to increase in the second quarter, and both figures are currently the highest recorded since employer surveys began in 1997.

Unfilled jobs rates were particularly high in industry (56 percent), food and hospitality (56 percent), and business services (22 percent).

Sources in the ministry say that there has been a dramatic overall improvement in the labor market, which is also reflected in additional parameters such as in increase in rates of employees leaving posts of their own initiative, greater difficulty in filling job vacancies, and longer periods required to fill vacancies.

Because the number of vacancies filled during the second quarter dropped by 7.8 percent, while the number of the rate of job positions vacated rose by a similar rate of 8 percent during the second quarter, the high employment balance remained stable.

Recovery of the employment market is also expressed in reports from employers of great difficulties and extended time periods needed to fill vacancies. The average time needed to fill vacancies during the second quarter of 2007 increased to 7.7 weeks, compared to 6.6 weeks in the prior quarter. The number of jobs that remained unfilled for more than three months out of the total number of vacant positions available also increased in the second quarter, reaching 21 percent, compared with 17 percent in the previous quarter, and only 13 percent in the same period last year.

Sources in the ministry explain that a growing mood of job security is expressed in the willingness to give up jobs at their own initiative, and replace them with other, apparently better positions. Most employees - 66.7 percent of total vacancies created - now leave their jobs on their own initiative rather than at the initiative of employers, compared with 62.9 percent in the first quarter. The rate of employee-initiated job vacancies has grown substantially over the past years, which is also indicative of a strong employment market.

Analysis of second quarter data shows expectations of growth in economic activity and workforce, a reflection of growing optimism among employers.
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