Demand for workers slid by 2.8% in February 2001 compared with January 2001, according to seasonally-adjusted figures from Manpower Israel.

Demand for workers has been sliding for four consecutive months, the placement company said.

Peak demand was registered in October 2000, but since then demand has diminished by an accrued 17%, or around 4.4% a month on average.

The sector hardest hit by slowing demand in February was computers and communications, Manpower reported. Demand fell by 10.6% in February 2001 compared with February 2000.

On the other hand, demand for labor in construction soared in February by 18.4%. Industry and metals saw a climb of 12.5% and the demand for academics for management positions grew by 5.8%.

Manpower Israel CEO Dalia Narkis said the dropping need for workers results from the resumption of the

intifada

and the wait for the inauguration of a new government. She added that the special decline in demand for workers in hi-tech is due to the changes in the American marketplace, where reports of dismissals by major corporations indicates that the down-trend will continue for the foreseeable months.

She explained the increase in demand for construction labor as an attempt to replace Palestinian workers.