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January 06, 1995 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The perfect setting
for saving money.

WORK page 33

Economic growth, which
dipped to 3.7 percent in 1993, was
back up to a rousing 6 percent in
1994. (One of the negative results
is an inflation rate of 14.5 per-
cent.)
Also, the government is con-
structing and widening highways
all over the country and investing
massive amounts of money in
building, equipping and staffing
new schools.
A new city is under construc-
tion in Modi'in, and tens of thou-
sands of housing units are being
built in Rosh Ha'ayin, Beit
Shemesh and other towns in cen-
tral and northern Israel.
In addition, jobless people un-
der 35 are now required to accept
work outside their professions or
lose their unemployment benefits
after two months.
"Another important, unseen el-
ement is the Russians," said Mr.
Eilan. "A la of Russian immi-
grants are opening their own
small businesses."
The unemployment rate
among Russian immigrants has
fallen to about the level of the gen-
eral Israeli public.
Not everyone is so sanguine
about the country's job profile.
"The job growth is mainly in
the lower-paid sectors of the econ-
omy," insisted labor studies
Professor Dan Jacobson of Tel
Aviv University. "The Histadrut
national labor federation has
all but disappeared as a force, so
now companies can get away with
paying lower and lower wages
and thus afford to hire more work-
ers.
"The minimum wage (approx-
imately $2.60 an hour) is a fiction
for tens of thousands of workers.
It is not enforced," Professor Ja-
cobson continued. "The gap be-
tween the rich and poor is
growing, so that even if the over-
all unemployment statistics have
improved, the structure of em-
ployment remains a serious prob-
lem." Not so, says Tsipi Gal-Yam,
chief economic adviser to the Fi-
nance Ministry.
"The new jobs are at all levels.
Over 80 percent are in industry.
It was business, not government,
that opened the gates to employ-
ment," she said.
As for poverty, Ms. Gal-Yam
predicted that the statistics for
1994 would show a drop in that
misery indicator, too.
Even if Professor Jacobson is
right, and there is as high a pro-
portion of poor people in Israel as
ever, at least more of them are
working.
Anyway you look at it, revers-
ing a decade-long trend, driving
down the jobless rate from 11.2
percent to 7.5 percent in less than
two years, is a remarkable, dra-
matic success.
"Our accomplishments in
bringing down unemployment,"
wrote Ha'aretz economics colum-
nist Arie Caspi, "will one day be
studied in universities." [1]

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