The unemployment rate reached 10.3 percent in 2015, bringing the number of unemployed persons above the age of 15 and over to 3,057,000, according to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) on Tuesday. The rate returned to double digits after four years.
Still, unemployment remained under the eurozone average. While the eurozone average was estimated at 10.8 percent in 2015, Southern European countries are expected to have even higher unemployment rates. The unemployment rates of Portugal, Spain and Greece are estimated to reach 12.4 percent, 22.1 percent and 25.6 percent for the same year, respectively. Furthermore, Germany, nominally the fourth-largest global economy, has an estimated unemployment rate of 6.4 percent. On the other hand, according to data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for 2015, unemployment rates for Japan, the United States and Canada were 3.4 percent, 5.3 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. Also, China, which has experienced a slowing economy in recent years, saw unemployment rates of 4.6 percent and 4.7 percent in 2013 and 2014, respectively, according to the World Bank.
Although the unemployment rate increased in Turkey, more women are participating in the labor market. The labor force reached 29,678,000 people, an increase of 892,000, while the labor force participation rate was 51.3 percent, a 0.8 percent increase in 2015. The labor force participation rate was 71.6 percent, a 0.3 percent increase for males, and 31.5 percent for females, a 1.2 percent increase over last year, which is especially stark given that the female labor force participation rate was 26 percent in 2009. According to a written statement from the Development Ministry, the increase in this rate is attributed to the increase in the education level of women, a crucial milestone for long-term development in Turkey.
The number of employed persons aged 15 and over was 26,621,000, an increase of 688,000, and the employment rate was 46 percent, a 0.5 percent rise. Moreover, according to TurkStat, in 2015, the non-agricultural unemployment rate was 12.4 percent, a 0.4 percent increase. While the youth unemployment rate – including the 15-24 age group – was 18.5 percent, a 0.6 percent increase, the unemployment rate for the 15-64 age group was 10.5 percent, a 0.4 percent rise. Furthermore, agricultural employment increased by 13,000 persons, and non-agricultural employment increased by 675,000 persons. Of those employed in 2015, 20.6 percent were employed in agriculture, 27.2 percent in industry and 52.2 percent in the service sector.
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