The unemployment rate in Turkey rose slightly to 12.9% in the first quarter, according to official data Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted rate was up 0.1 percentage point from the previous three months, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said.
The number of unemployed people aged 15 and over increased by 142,000 to 4.1 million in the January-March period, the data showed.
At the same time, the labor underutilization increased to 27.8%, a 1 percentage point rise from the previous quarter.
The seasonally-adjusted underutilization rate, a reflection of how the coronavirus pandemic weighs on workers, had hit a record high of 29.5% in January. The previous peak, 29.3%, was in May last year during the most severe COVID-19 lockdowns.
The employment rate was realized as 43.8%, a 0.8 percentage point quarterly rise as the number of employed people rose by 627,000 to 27.8 million.
Labor force participation reached 50.3% in the first quarter, up 0.1 percentage point compared to the previous quarter.
Nearly 32 million people are taking part in the country’s labor force, with a rise of 767,000 in January-March, according to TurkStat.
The youth unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was 25.3% in March, up 0.2 percentage points in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter.
According to the distribution of employment by sector, 54.9% were employed in the services, 21.3% in industry, 17.5 in agriculture and 6.2% in construction.
The report said the rate of women participating in the workforce was 31.2%, while this figure was 69.2% for men.
The rate of unregistered employment in the non-agricultural sector was 17.1%, marking a 3.3 percentage-point decline from the previous three months.
Turkey in April extended for another three months the wage support program for employees of companies that have been hit by the outbreak.
The short-term work allowance, under which people were receiving two-thirds of their salary, expired as of the end of March and businesses had called for its extension.
The allowance, under which the government has been paying 60% of staff salaries, will now be continued through June and is applicable to all industries.
At its peak, over 3 million people were benefiting from the short-term work allowance and 1.3 million continued to do so before the scheme expired.
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