The number of people unemployed in Turkey has dropped slightly in December, official data showed Thursday.
The unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point from a month earlier to 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 labor underutilization measure was on a falling 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 a month earlier to 52.9% in December, the data also showed.
Some 33.9 million people made up the labor force in December, up 238,000 people from the previous month.
The number of unemployed aged 15 and over rose by 2,000 month-over-month in December to 3.8 million.
During the same period, employment climbed 0.3 percentage points to 47%, or 30.1 million people.
In December 2020, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 12.7%, according to the TurkStat data.
The report said the number of women participating in the workforce also climbed 0.3 percentage points month-on-month to 34.5%.
In 2021, Turkey saw its highest unemployment rate in April, with 13.4%, while the lowest was in June, with 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, it noted.
Enver Erkan, a chief economist at Istanbul-based private investment firm Tera Yatırım, stressed that people who were laid off from their regular jobs during the coronavirus pandemic had to take temporary jobs in the service sector in a bid to maintain their earnings.
"This actually leads to a lack of productivity and efficiency, which is the main need of the economy at the point of transformation and sustainable growth, especially in the manufacturing sector in industry," Erkan said in a note.
Pointing to Turkey’s 50.4% hike in the minimum wage as of Jan. 1 and soaring inflation, Erkan said the combination of falling real wages along with high inflation is a problem.
"Factors such as companies’ cost management and the desire to change jobs among individuals may limit new labor force participation or cause an increase in the idle labor force. There are some difficulties in creating a permanent job in the coming months," he explained.