Turkey’s unemployment rate down slightly to 11.2% in December

The number of unemployed in Turkey fell slightly in December, official data showed on Thursday.

The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point from the previous month to stand at 11.2% in December, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said.

On the other hand, a seasonally adjusted measure of labor underutilization rose 0.5 percentage points to 22.6%, the data showed.

The measure of labor underutilization has been on a downward trend for much of last year after peaking at 29.5% in January 2021 under the impact of measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The labor force participation rate rose 0.3 percentage points from the previous month to 52.9% in December, the data also showed.

Some 33.9 million people made up the labor force in December, up 238,000 from the previous month.

The number of unemployed people aged 15 and over rose by 2,000 month-on-month in December to 3.8 million.

Over the same period, employment rose 0.3 percentage points to 47%, or 30.1 million people.

In December 2020, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 12.7%, according to data from TurkStat.

The report said the number of women participating in the labor force also increased by 0.3 percentage points month-over-month to 34.5%.

In 2021, Turkey experienced its highest unemployment rate in April, at 13.4%, while the lowest was in June, at 10.6%.

Broken down by sector, some 55.4% of people were employed in services, 21.7% in industry, 16.8% in agriculture and 6% in construction, he noted.

Enver Erkan, chief economist at Istanbul-based private investment firm Tera Yatırım, pointed out that people who were laid off from their regular jobs during the coronavirus pandemic had to accept temporary jobs in the service sector in order to maintain their income.

“It actually leads to a lack of productivity and efficiency, which is the main need of the economy at the time of transformation and sustainable growth, especially in the manufacturing sector of the industry,” Erkan said. in a note.

Pointing to Turkey’s 50.4% rise in the minimum wage on January 1 and soaring inflation, Erkan said the combination of falling real wages and high inflation is a problem.

“Factors such as business cost management and individuals’ desire to change jobs can limit new labor market participation or lead to an increase in the inactive labor force. There are some difficulties in create a permanent job in the coming months,” he explained.

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