Approximately 20,072 people applied to the Israeli Employment Service (IES) in March, according to the bureau's data published Sunday.
February saw 17,830 people apply to the IES and March of 2008 registered 11,856 applicants.
According to the IES, March's figures set an all-time high: "The number of people laid off in March topped," IES Director-General Yossi Farhi told Ynet.
The bureau's data also indicated a steady increase in the number of monthly applicants since the end of 2008, noting that 17,499 people applied to the IES in December, as opposed to 16,450 in November, 10,688 in October
Farhi did, however, stress that the current Israeli Employment Service report related only to the number of people fired, and that separate reports concerning job demands and unemployment rates would be published after the Passover holiday.
"The data is very disconcerting," said Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer after reviewing the report, "especially considering that the numbers seem to be increasing over time."
Ben-Eliezer announced that his office stood to make the troubling unemployment rate its first priority and that every effort would be made in order to reverse the market's trend.