The unemployment rate in Turkey dropped to 13.2% in May, down 0.6 percentage points from the previous month, official data showed Monday.
The rate was also down by 0.3 percentage points versus the same month last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Turkey imposed a full lockdown in the first half of May as COVID-19 cases surged to record-high levels but the measures did not affect key sectors. The unemployment rate stood at 13.8% in April.
The labor underutilization measure had risen in recent months, nearing a peak touched in May of last year during the height of the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Data showed it slipped to 27.2% from 27.4% a month ago.
Since early 2020, unemployment has been held down by a ban on layoffs that was lifted this month.
Economists say the lifting of the layoff ban, along with the end of other pandemic-related government support, could lead to a rise in the number of unemployed as businesses, hard hit by virus-curbing measures, struggle to keep employees.
The data showed that the number of unemployed aged 15 and over decreased by 265,000 month-on-month to 4.24 million in May.
The employment rate slipped 0.4 percentage points to 43.8%, or 27.84 million people during the same period.
The labor force participation rate dropped 0.8 percentage points in May to 50.5% from a month earlier. From January the data was presented in a new format in line with international standards.
Some 32.08 million people made up the labor force, with a 481,000-person decrease in May 2021 compared to the previous month, the data showed.
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