Turkey's unemployment rate sharply falls to 10.6 pct in February

Published 15.05.2018 10:06 Modified 15.05.2018 15:21
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Turkey's unemployment rate stood at 10.6 percent in February, falling 2 percentage points on a yearly basis, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said Tuesday.

TurkStat said the number of unemployed persons aged 15 years and over – 3.35 million last February – decreased by 546,000, year-on-year.

"In the same period, non-agricultural unemployment rate occurred as 12.5 percent with a 2.3-percentage point decrease," TurkStat said. "While the youth unemployment rate, including persons aged 15 to 24 years old was 19 percent with a 4.3 percentage point decrease, the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 to 64 years old was 10.5 percent with a 2 percentage point decrease."

The number of employed people rose by some 1.2 million to nearly 28.2 million over the same period, moving the employment rate to 46.6 percent with a 1.3 percent annual increase.

With regards to distribution of employment by sector; 17.7 percent are employed in agriculture, 20 percent in industry, 7 percent in construction and 55.3 percent in services.

Official data showed that the labor force participation rate (LFPR) was 52.2 percent – a 0.4 percentage point increase year-on-year – while the number of people in the labor force reached 31.5 million – up 665,000.

The male LFPR stood at 71.5 percent – a 0.2-percent decrease – while the female rate was 33.3 percent - a rise of 1 percentage point on a yearly basis.

Meanwhile, the rate of unregistered employment – people working without social security related to their principal occupation – stood at 32.2 percent with a 0.6-percentage point decrease year-on-year.

Enver Erkan, an economist at GCM Menkul Kıymetler, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the significant recovery in the unemployment figures came thanks to stimulus measures were put forth by the government.

"The government's goal is 10.5 percent for 2018, according to the country's Medium Term Program, which is also close to our expectation for this year," Erkan said.

Erkan stressed that the ongoing volatility seen in the foreign exchange markets bore negative effects to the economy and to the labor market as well.

"The depreciation of the Turkish lira could be considered as a risk especially for the private sector," he said. "Because the private sector is more profit-oriented, decision-makers would reduce some labor force in order to sustain profitability."

The U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate has been subject to harsh fluctuations in recent weeks. The USD/TRY rate stood at nearly 4.40 on Tuesday morning, while the average dollar/lira was 3.65 last year.

Economist Bora Tamer Yiımaz also told AA that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.8 percent in February – the strongest figure since the defeated July 15 coup attempt.

"In February, 40,000 new jobs [seasonally adjusted figure] were created in the country," Yılmaz said. "Increases in employment and vibrant economic activities resulted from the strong performance of the global economy, domestic practices and incentive systems."

"Employment growth in the services sector is also a positive signal for the future," he noted, adding that the Turkish economy would probably grow by around 5 percent this year.

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